The first question is: where is Morrisons? In no-nonsense Bradford, the internet has been summarily dismissed. But down the road in not-exactly-poncey Leeds, Asda's Andy Bond admitted this week that it had been slow to catch on and needed to catch up.
But which way to grow? Asda, along with Ocado , is targeting the traditional grocery market. M&S is focusing on non food. And Tesco is sizing up, well, everything. But it's the non food market that intrigues me. As Shore Capital analyst Clive Black says in our analysis piece (page 34), "no-one has cracked clothing on the web". With 8,000 products, Tesco has Argos, John Lewis and, in fact, the whole direct mail industry in its sights. And why stop there? As these supermarkets invest in the distribution infrastructure to deliver goods to households on a national scale, it's not inconceivable that they will challenge the Post Office, FedEx and UPS.
Not yet, though, they won't. As The Grocer 33 Online survey shows (page 26), in the run-up to Christmas, next-day delivery is still just a pipedream for most online supermarkets. And wait till you read about those substitutions and missing items.