Ocado tackles ‘surge in demand’ as M&S delivery service launches

Ocado has said it has been tackling "a surge in demand" on the first day of its new delivery deal with Marks & Spencer.

M&S food is being sold online for the first time as the high street retailer launches its £1.5 billion tie-up with Ocado, which split from previous grocery partner Waitrose.

Ocado said it had to cancel "a very small number of orders" after being hit by a jump in demand following the launch on Tuesday.

However, it stressed that the "vast majority" of orders have been unaffected as it begins its the joint venture, which saw M&S purchase a 50% stake in Ocado's retail business.

An Ocado spokeswoman said: "The M&S launch has been incredibly popular.

"We have seen a surge in demand for M&S products in the run-up to launch, which has impacted a very small number of orders today.

"The vast majority of customers are unaffected and will be delivered as normal.

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"We would like to thank our customers for giving M&S such a big welcome and sincere apologies to any customers having to wait a bit longer."

The launch into online grocery sales comes at a pivotal point for M&S, which recently announced plans to cut around 7,000 jobs as part of a restructure.

Shoppers are now able to choose from around 6,000 M&S food items, alongside Ocado's own-label and branded products.

M&S also vowed that its products will be the same price, or cheaper than, the Waitrose equivalents after announcing the deal.

M&S Food managing director Stuart Machin said: "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.

"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."