Online grocer Ocado’s CEO Tim Steiner has attacked Waitrose’s reaction to its tie-up with Morrisons as a “joke” and claimed that Waitrose’s Managing Director Mark Price has refused to meet with him, it has ben reported.
Speaking to The Telegraph after delivering last night’s retail lecture for the British Retail Consortium, Steiner denied that the recently confirmed deal did not amount to a breach of contract as suggested by Price and would in fact be beneficial to Waitrose.
Last week, Waitrose confirmed that it has contacted lawyers over the tie-up, which will see Morrisons use Ocado’s technology and supply chain operations to launch an online food offering, to see if the move breaches terms of its existing agreement with the chain.
A statement from Waitrose said: “We have instructed lawyers so that we can get a clear and unequivocal view of the contract and examine what might constitute a breach.”
But Steiner told the newspaper that Waitrose was fearful of the implications of Ocado’s growth, commenting: “We have gone from a toddler to an unruly teenager.
“Now we are an adult and sometimes the parent doesn’t like it when the child grows up.”
Waitrose said yesterday that Price would agree to meet with Steiner once the contract between Ocado and Morrisons had been studied.