The Co-operative Group has no plans to launch a full online grocery business in the near future, Retail Gazette understands.
Despite the big four supermarkets and Waitrose continually looking at ways in which to enhance their online operations, a fully functional transactional Co-op Food site appears some way from being a reality.
It would seem like a natural step for the group to take as it continues its development following the 2009 acquisition of Somerfield, but recent reports suggesting that a site launch is imminent are wide of the mark.
A spokesperson for The Co-operative Group told this publication: “We are currently running a trial, with our online electrical business, selling bulk buy household cleaning products, and have a successful home delivery service operating out of a number of our food stores.
“But have no plans to launch a full online grocery business in the immediate future.”
A recent study from the grocery research and insight group IGD estimated that online grocery sales will reach £11.2 billion in 2016, almost double its current value.
It said that the e-tail grocery sector will account for 3.8 per cent of overall grocery trade at the end of this year, rising to six per cent of the total market in five years’ time.
Of the leading UK supermarkets, Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s all operate established transactional shopping websites, but Morrisons is set to enter the fold in the coming 12 months as it continues the integration of e-tailer Kiddicare, which it bought for £70 million in February.
Meanwhile, upmarket grocer Waitrose has recently revamped it website and has started delivering food to people living in London for the first time as it looks to capitalise on the growing e-commerce market.
Speaking last week, CEO of IGD Joanne Denney-Finch said: “A digital explosion is taking place and technology is advancing in leaps and bounds.
“Just in the last 12 months we’ve seen an array of innovations in the online arena and we expect this to continue.”