Ocado completes Marks & Spencer tie-up

Ocado has completed the sale of half its UK retail business to Marks & Spencer as part of a joint venture to enable the High Street retailer to offer an online grocery delivery service.

However, the business will not begin selling M&S products until 1 September next year, unless Ocado’s existing arrangements with Waitrose & Partners end sooner.

The deal - announced in late February - will let Ocado shoppers to choose from over 6,500 M&S food products.

As part of the plans, Ocado has appointed M&S’ strategy director Melanie Smith as chief executive of Ocado. Current interim managing director Lawrence Hene has also been appointed as deputy chief executive for a transitional period, before moving back to a senior role within Ocado.

M&S chief executive Steve Rowe commented: “I have always believed that M&S Food could and should be online.

“The addition of Ocado to our family of businesses marks M&S’s first truly transformational step in shaping our future as a digital-first retailer, as we combine the magic of M&S food with Ocado’s award-winning service to create a new and compelling proposition.”

Rowe and M&S food managing director Stuart Machin will become directors at Ocado as part of the tie-up. The remaining board members will include Ocado chief executive Tim Steiner and chief financial officer Duncan Tatton-Brown.

Steiner added: “The new company will be able to offer customers even greater range, service, quality and value – our collaboration will also allow us to grow the business faster, add more jobs, and create more value for all our stakeholders.”

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