Waitrose, the upmarket supermarket, is reportedly in discussions with Amazon to sell its groceries on the online marketplace. The move is seen as an attempt to attract more customers and regain market share.
This news comes after Amazon recently struck a similar agreement with the supermarket chain Iceland, which launched on Amazon in mid-September. Iceland offers thousands of products to Amazon Prime subscribers, and Amazon delivers these items directly from Iceland stores.
Amazon already has third-party agreements with other UK supermarkets, including the Co-op and Morrisons, allowing them to sell their groceries on Amazon’s platform, with deliveries fulfilled from local branches.
Waitrose has faced increased competition from discounters like Aldi and Lidl, especially during the current cost-of-living crisis. Its market share in the UK grocery sector has declined from 5.1% at the beginning of 2020 to 4.6%, according to Kantar’s industry data.
It’s worth noting that Waitrose had a 20-year partnership with the online grocery retailer Ocado until September 2020 when Ocado switched to a deal with Marks & Spencer.
Both Waitrose and Amazon have declined to comment on the potential partnership. Waitrose mentioned that it already sells groceries online through Waitrose.com and has existing relationships with food delivery firms Deliveroo and Uber Eats.
In recent years, Waitrose has partnered with Deliveroo for rapid home grocery deliveries and teamed up with Uber Eats to deliver groceries to customers within 20 minutes.
While there were reports five years ago that Amazon had considered taking over Waitrose, these claims were denied by the John Lewis Partnership (JLP), which includes the Waitrose supermarket chain and the John Lewis department store chain.
Amazon entered the UK grocery sector in 2016 with the launch of its online delivery service, Amazon Fresh. The company recently opened a new Amazon Fresh store in London, bringing the total number of such stores in the UK to 19.
Last week, John Lewis, part of the JLP, announced that its chair, Sharon White, would step down in February 2025 at the end of her five-year term, making her the shortest-serving chair in the company’s history. This decision follows an announcement last month that the group’s turnaround would take longer than expected and incur higher costs, as it reported another loss for the latest six months. John Lewis had also suspended its annual staff bonus for the second time in three years in March due to a worse-than-expected full-year loss of £230 million.