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Asda, Morrisons, M&S target online growth with new initiatives

UK supermarkets are doubling down on ecommerce this week, with Asda, Morrisons and Marks & Spencer all announcing new plans for the online channel.

Financial results show Asda saw its online grocery sales double during Q2, helping like-for-like sales excluding fuel rise 3.8%.

The supermarket, which has already increased its online capacity by 65% since March to 700,000 weekly slots, plans to boost this figure to 740,000 by the end of the year and 1 million in 2021.

Asda is also expanding its trial to offer deliveries through Uber Eats to 25 more stores over the next eight weeks and has reinstated its same day and express click and collect service at more than 300 stores.

The news comes the week after launching a new fleet of home delivery vans, which offer a 10% improvement in miles per gallon and increased carriage capacity, reducing road miles and improving delivery efficiency.

Like most UK supermarkets, Asda faced capacity issues at the beginning of the pandemic due to the rapid shift to online once customers were locked down in their homes.

Morrisons has become the first supermarket to formally partner with Amazon’s new Prime grocery service.

The Morrisons on Amazon store will offer thousands of grocery products with free same-day delivery on orders over £40. The service is initially available in Leeds.

Morrisons has continually searched for new channels during the pandemic, as the most recent of the four biggest UK supermarkets to launch online. It worked with DPD on a bundle of goods that could be ordered through a dedicated website.

Meanwhile, M&S has announced a new focus on online following disappointing results which showed revenues had fallen 38.5% year-on-year in the last 13 weeks.

The retailer has seen a greater mix of orders online, although since this is a relatively small part of M&S’s business this is little consolation. 68% of orders were delivered to home, compared with 29% the previous year. In the eight weeks since stores reopened, store sales were down 47.9% while online was up 39.2% on last year.

The company expects to add new roles in online distribution centres while cutting 7000 roles in its central support centre, regional management and UK stores.