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Waitrose.com prepares for Ocado split

Published: 2 March 2020 - John King
 

Waitrose is starting a national online roll-out programme, adding its Waitrose.com online delivery service to 24 more of its shops across the country.

The shops are strategically placed to handle increased demand for the retailer’s online shopping service in preparation for its split from Ocado.

From 1 September, Ocado is going to lose the right to sell any Waitrose products, so Waitrose food and drink will exclusively be available online on Waitrose.com. 

Its Hailsham shop is the first of 24 to be receiving a Waitrose.com service for the first time over the coming months. Currently 150 of the retailer’s shops cover deliveries across the country with 84% of active UK postcodes able to order Waitrose.com shopping. In addition to the new 24 shops, significant work is underway with the current online shops, to further increase their order capacity. And a new Customer Fulfilment Centre is due to open in Enfield in the coming months to respond to a surge in demand in the Capital.

Digital director, Ben Stimson commented: “September offers the single biggest growth opportunity for our business and we're investing heavily to achieve it. 

“We're not starting from scratch; Waitrose.com is growing significantly ahead of the market and we already deliver to tens of thousands of customers each week, added to the millions who visit our shops. 

“We have robust plans in place to extend our reach ahead of September. We have significant investment planned for the coming months across our infrastructure, website and service - creating more delivery slots and employing a fleet of new drivers. And adding online capability to these 24 more of our shops will mean we can reach even more of the country - we already deliver to 84% of UK postcodes and this is growing all the time.

"Our teams at head office are working across our website and apps to make our service better, faster and more convenient. And our chefs and product developers will be launching or redeveloping more than 5000 of our own label products this year.

“We are well prepared for the boost in demand and capacity has already been tested with our busiest ever online order week - the week before Christmas in 2019."

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