Marks & Spencer has said that some 20,000 packs of its iconic Percy Pig confectionery brand have already been ordered via online retailer Ocado, after the two retailers formally announced the commencement of their partnership.
The 'transformational partnership', as M&S describes the agreement on its website, marks the first time that Marks & Spencer food products will be available to buy online.
Some 6,000 M&S Food SKUs and 800 clothing and home SKUs are now available on Ocado's platform, adding to some 50,000 SKUs already available to Ocado shoppers.
“Taking our full food range online for the first time is transformative for M&S food and brings to life our strategy to protect the magic, the delicious, quality food and trusted sourcing standards customers love – whilst modernising the rest," commented Stuart Machin, managing director of M&S Food.
"This is a long-term partnership and in preparation for go-live we have listened intently to customers to deliver an even bigger, better range—with more family pack sizes, more scratch cooking ingredients, household staples and organic options."
Ocado, which has seen orders surge in the months since the coronavirus pandemic began, currently serves 74% of the UK population, and is undertaking investment to boost its capacity.
The online only operator expects capacity to grow by 40% in 2021.
Commenting on the agreement, Melanie Smith, chief executive of Ocado Retail said that it "marks the culmination of over a year of hard work by everyone involved and I am so proud of everyone at Ocado Retail and our friends at M&S for such a collaborative partnership.
"We know this is the start of something special and as shoppers continue to move online at pace, we look forward to what the future holds.”
Commenting on the partnership, analyst Clive Black of Shore Capital said that it marked "good timing" for both parties.
"No one could have imagined what sort of online grocery market M&S would be entering when the deal was struck with Ocado Group, prevailing Ocado Retail sales were growing at c10-12%," he said.
"Now, with the coronavirus crisis in tow, Ocado Retail is operating at full capacity, so sales growth of c40-45%, which is way ahead of prior expectations by all, with a full order schedule and customers awaiting additional capacity."
© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.