Ocado completes sale of 50% of business to M&S

// Ocado announces sale of half of online retail business to M&S is completed
// Deal won’t begin until September 1 2020 due to current Waitrose agreement
// Ocado appoints M&S strategy director Melanie Smith as chief executive of Ocado Retail

Ocado has sold half of its UK retail business to Marks & Spencer, according to an announcement made this morning to the stock market.

The deal means M&S will be able to offer an online grocery delivery service, while Ocado shoppers will be able to choose from over 6500 M&S products while shopping on Ocado.com, alongside the retailer’s own brands and own label products.

However, due to Ocado’s current arrangements with Waitrose, it won’t begin selling M&S products until September 1 2020, unless its agreement with Waitrose comes to an end before then.

Ocado’s announcement also detailed crossover with staff, with Ocado appointing M&S strategy director Melanie Smith as chief executive of Ocado Retail.

Lawrence Hene, currently the interim managing director of Ocado Retail, has been appointed as deputy chief executive for a transitional period before moving back to a senior role within Ocado.

“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,” M&S chief executive Steve Rowe said.

Rowe will also now become a director of Ocado Retail, as will M&S food managing director Stuart Machin.

“Ocado Retail’s future, as part of a joint venture with M&S, is full of opportunity,” Ocado chief executive Tim Steiner said.

“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. We are very excited to be working together.”

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