Supermarket Waitrose has contacted lawyers to examine a potential breach of contract by online grocer Ocado over the latter’s deal with competitor Morrisons, it has emerged this afternoon.
Earlier today, Morrisons announced that it has signed a long-term agreement with Ocado to use its technology, logistics and distribution operations as it belatedly launches an online food offering.
However, Ocado has an existing agreement with Waitrose which is in place until at least 2017 and a statement from the latter explained that its legal team is looking into the deal while it pushes ahead with its own omnichannel strategy.
The statement said: “We have asked to see the detail of the deal and the operating arrangements.
“Meanwhile, we have instructed lawyers so that we can get a clear and unequivocal view of the contract and examine what might constitute a breach.
“This process will take some time so we are unlikely to comment again in the near future.”
Waitrose also noted that its online sales are continuing to grow, up 50.1 per cent in the first quarter and the retailer is set to open a second ‘dark store’ in the capital in Spring 2014, bringing inevitable questions over its future relationship with Ocado.