// M&S food managing director Stuart Machin told staff that all eyes will be on the new deal with Ocado
// The venture is due to launch on September 1
Marks & Spencer food boss Stuart Machin has reportedly informed staff in a letter that the retailer will keep a close eye on the new venture with online grocer Ocado.
The venture will launch in less than 100 days, and is understood to be M&S’s biggest strategic gamble for decades.
The high street stalwart bought half of Ocado’s retail business last year for £750 million.
- Ocado to stock M&S clothes alongside groceries
- Ocado customers donate over £1m to food banks in 2 months
Machin said his team was maintaining a “laser” focus on September 1 when Ocado swaps Waitrose after an 18 year partnership, This is Money reported.
He added that M&S is preparing for scrutiny from customers, both new and existing.
Machin wrote to staff that the retailer needs to “get it right” from launch.
The Covid-19 pandemic has also added more challenges into the mix, and as Machin pointed out – “Covid-19 made online demand rocket”.
On Wednesday, M&S announced that shoppers can purchase underwear and children’s school clothes along with their groceries through Ocado.
Ocado will see 1600 essential clothing lines as well as more than 6000 M&S food products added to its platform – which is 2000 more than Waitrose offers.
M&S chief executive Steve Rowe said the initiative was on track despite Covid-19 disrupting supply chains.