M&S 'Not Unhappy' With Ocado Retail, Says Archie Norman

By Reuters
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M&S 'Not Unhappy' With Ocado Retail, Says Archie Norman

British retailer Marks & Spencer is "not unhappy" with the current performance of Ocado Retail, its online supermarket joint venture with Ocado Group, M&S chair Archie Norman told investors.

In its year to 30 March, M&S's share of Ocado Retail's adjusted loss increased to more than £37 million (€43.7 million), and M&S has previously been critical of the joint venture's management.

'Not Unhappy'

"Overall we're not unhappy with where Ocado (Retail) is. Of course there's a lot to do... but there's a lot good going on," Norman said at M&S's annual shareholder meeting in response to an investor question.

M&S CEO Stuart Machin added, "The bad news is out the way", highlighting Ocado Retail's strong current sales growth.

"The more growth we get... the more cost benefits we can get, and the more value we can pass on to customers," he said, noting a greater proportion of M&S products being sold on the site.


Machin said that if M&S's current UK grocery market share from stores of 3.6% estimated by researcher NIQ is added to its sales from Ocado Retail, its market share would be in line or more than that of Waitrose.

Joint Venture

The retailer and Ocado Group are however still wrangling over the final payment for M&S's share of the joint venture, which was formed in 2019.

M&S says the joint venture has not met the performance criteria for the payment. Ocado Group says the target should be adjusted and has threatened legal action.

"A joint venture's always hard work, there's always little points of friction," added Norman.

Last month, Ocado Group's shares slumped after the online group said its Canadian supermarket partner Sobeys had paused the opening of a fourth robotic warehouse.

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