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cado has held secret talks with Marks & Spencer over the launch of a food delivery service that could signal the end of its long running tie-up with Waitrose. The Ocado name has been intertwined with Waitrose for the past 20 years but the current supply deal between the companies ends in September 2020.

sales, which strip out the impact of new stores, were up 2.2% at its UK supermarkets.

Iceland’s managing director Richard Walker said the grocers’ traditional superstores “would be too big” for Iceland to take on but revealed ambitions to expand its Food Warehouse division.

City analysts expect the businesses, which have always had a stormy relationship, to part ways. John Lewis Partnership, which controls Waitrose, no longer has any ownership of Ocado which is separately quoted on the stock market and is valued at around £6.6bn.

A tie-up with M&S is likely to result in Ocado dropping Waitrose as its key groceries supplier. Grocery delivery is planned as a key way for M&S chairman Archie Norman to turn around the retailer’s ailing fortunes, and it has been suggested that M&S would be interested in buying key distribution centres, delivery vans and lorries from Ocado.


celand is contemplating placing a bid for any stores Sainsbury’s and Asda are required to sell in order to have their proposed merger approved. The company said like-for-like

6 March 2019

He stated: “You can redevelop, you can carve up, you can put in neighbouring retailers alongside. “Food retail drives footfall and we are the only supermarket that is opening on retail parks. We are looking at every retailer, trying to pick off as much as we can.” The majority of Iceland’s existing UK stores are in town centres but it started introducing a larger format called The Food Warehouse on retail parks in 2014.

of its shop supply agreement with Booker Retail Partners (BRP). MFG signed its first agreement with BRP in May 2016 and this new contract will include the MRH network that MFG acquired at the end of 2018.

BRP will be supplying the entire 925-strong network and MRH’s Spar shops will be the first to be rebranded.

MFG’s retail director, Paul Dennis, said: “After nearly three years of successful Booker shop supply, we are delighted to be continuing our relationship to cover our enlarged network. We believe Booker’s promotional programme and Spend & Save rewards have already added significant benefits to over 800 of our forecourt retailers.

“In addition to rebranding the Spar stores, it is our intention to also replace the Hursts brand. We are confident that moving to Londis and Budgens will help drive additional footfall through our stores and enhance the customer shopping experience.”

The Food Warehouse, of which there are almost 100 operating, tends to have twice the floor area of a normal Iceland store. They mainly stock frozen food, but also include general merchandise and a wine selection.


he UK’s biggest independent forecourt operator, Motor Fuel Group (MFG), is rebranding 110 of its shops from Spar to the Londis or Budgens brands as part of an extension


he Co-op has appointed a director of e-commerce in the clearest signal yet of an intention to start selling online. Chris Conway was recruited as the business’ head of digital in May last year, but his title has now changed to head of digital and e-commerce. Currently, the only way to buy Co-op groceries online is through a trial using robots for delivery from a single store in Milton Keynes, with orders placed on robot maker Starship Technologies’ app, or

through Deliveroo in a separate trial in Manchester.

Mr Conway has commented that it is imperative that retailers go online or they will lose out on sales. The Co-op has at least 100 new store openings planned for 2019, a third of which are lined up for London and the South East, as part of a £200m investment programme. A further 200 stores are to undergo ‘major makeovers’.


ooths has credited the popularity of its own-brand products for the strong growth in sales and profit during the Christmas trading season.

For the three-week period ending 05 January, the grocer – often regarded as the ‘Waitrose of the North’ – recorded a 3.3% sales increase and a 4.5% uptick in profits. The retailer said its traditional Christmas range showed the strongest performance, with sales for turkey and trimmings recording an increase of 10%.

Booths added that its range of own-brand wines also performed well, as did its range of craft beers and spirits. Meanwhile, its click-and- collect service delivered 15% growth and a 25% uplift in sales over the New Year period.

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