Marks & Spencer may trial home-delivery service across UK from autumn

Speaking at a meeting of employees this week, CEO Steve Row said that a team of executives was examining the possibility of launching a trial but that he didn't want to 'rush into it'

M&S already sells some party food and alcohol online, but a new service could encompass a huge range of groceries, rivalling the likes of AmazonFresh
M&S already sells some party food and alcohol online, but a new service could encompass a huge range of groceries, rivalling the likes of AmazonFresh

Marks & Spencer could become the latest company to offer home delivery across the UK, contending with Sainsbury, Tesco and Waitrose in response to a swelling appetite for on-demand dining and a more convenient way to shop.

Speaking at a meeting of employees this week, the CEO of the British high-street stalwart said that a team of executives was examining the possibility of launching a trial in autumn.

“We continue to review food online carefully. It has not cost us anything over the last five years by not being online with food. Our customers haven’t moved yet, but they will and we need to ensure that we are ready with the right response,” Steve Rowe said.

He added, however, that “the economics of food online are not straight forward”.

“[This] is not something that we are going to rush into until we have substantial customer insight and a better understanding of what is right for M&S and right for our customers,” he said.

M&S already sells some party food and alcohol online, but a new service could encompass a huge range of groceries, rivalling the likes of AmazonFresh, which launched in the UK last year and offers same-day delivery.

It might also help the group capitalise on its food business, which has flourished as demand for its clothes and home products has ebbed.

Under a year-long plan, the company is in the process of shutting some stores, downsizing others and transforming some into food-only outlets. It’s also outlined plans to close some of its loss-making international stores, including in China and France.

The market for home delivery of ready-to-eat food as well as groceries has boomed in recent years, thanks to the likes of Deliveroo and JustEat. Earlier this week McDonald’s said that it would be trialling a home-delivery service across the country from June.

Earlier this month KFC, famous for its fried chicken, said that it had partnered with Just Eat to offer deliveries through its app and website from 30 of its branches in Greater London.

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