Ocado to sell Marks & Spencer clothing online as part of grocery deal

Ocado Marks & Spencer

Ocado will sell Marks & Spencer clothing alongside its food as part of the joint venture between the two businesses which begins in September.

In addition Marks & Spencer has said it will sell third party brands on its own website as it seeks to ramp up its digital business in a post-COVID world.

Around 1,600 essential clothing lines, including underwear and children’s school wear, will be available to buy on Ocado, as well as 6,000 M&S food items. Currently Ocado has a relationship with John Lewis owned supermarket Waitrose, whom M&S will replace on the website, with just 2,000 Waitrose food items available.

CEO Steve Rowe has also said that M&S will add some third party brands to its own website in categories “where we don’t necessarily have the expertise or dominance in the market“. It currently sells a range of third party beauty brands but Rowe said the fashion offer would only be augmented with additional brands in a few key areas and that the move was not about turning the business into a department store online.

Earlier today, the high street giant said its clothing sales were down 6.2% in the year to the end of March as it was hit by delivery issues ahead of the COVID-19 lockdown, which came into force on 23 March.

M&S has said it intends to “hibernate” some £200m of SS20 stock as a result of the lockdown, with some basics and neutral styles held over until SS21. It is seeking extra warehousing space to hold the stock.

In its results its said it had been left with a £145m bill due to unsold stock.