Marks and Spencer has signed up online retailer Amazon to run its Internet operation.

Stuart Rose chief executive said: “Frankly, we ought to be better at it than we are. We are going to have to invest money in it for more functionality and we decided to use somebody else rather than do it on our own.”

The retailer currently sells clothes and homeware through its site. However with a new site in place by summer 2005, and with 24m hit a year, it is thought M&S may start to sell food online in the long-term.

Amazon Services Europe will provide the technology behind M&S’s website, in-store and telephone ordering services operations, warehousing and distribution.

Amazon has a number of similar partnerships in the US with retailers such as Target and Borders and has also signed a deal with Waterstones in the UK.