Morrisons delivery vans hit the road as grocer goes live with online service

MORRISONS began making its first online food deliveries yesterday as the supermarket’s vans began delivering groceries to homes across the Midlands.

Morrisons will use Ocado to deliver online orders

The Bradford-based supermarket chain said it had seen strong interest in its dot-com offer with thousands registering their interest.

It said hundreds of deliveries took place to homes across the Midlands yesterday.

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The service is due to be available in Yorkshire, namely the Leeds and Bradford areas, in February.

It comes after Morrisons reported a worse than expected 5.6 per cent decline in like-for-like sales on Thursday and warned that profits will fall short of City expectations.

Morrisons blamed a combination of shoppers failing to trade up from the discounters over Christmas, its lack of online and convenience stores and the proliferation of vouchers offering mass discounts from rivals.

The group hopes to overcome these issues with the launch of its online service, a ramp-up in convenience store openings and a new loyalty scheme.

Dalton Philips, chief executive of Morrisons, said yesterday: “Today, Morrisons becomes a truly multi-channel business with an online offer that will lead the market in freshness, value and service, powered by best-in-class technology.

“It will be the closest thing on the internet to being in a store and selecting food yourself.”

Morrisons said customers have been importing their shopping lists from all the major grocers.

The offer replicates in-store services provided by the company’s Market Street butchers, bakers and fishmongers. A virtual butcher enables customers to choose how thickly their steak is cut.

Orders are then prepared by Morrisons’ academy-trained butchers.

Other features of deal with customer concerns about the freshness of the food bought online, the variability of delivery charges and convenience of online food deliveries.

Morrisons expects to be covering 50 per cent of the country by 2015.

Speaking to the Yorkshire Post on Thursday, Mr Philips admitted that the group had not anticipated the strength of online and convenience shopping over Christmas. He estimated that a lack of convenience and online sales knocked 200 basis points off like-for-like sales, which means that sales would have fallen by 3.6 per cent without their impact.

Morrisons said profits will come in at the bottom of analysts’ estimates which range from £783m to £853m.