Hi-tech delivery service M-box has announced retail partnerships with c-store groups representing 7,400 outlets. Signings include national groups Spar, Londis and Costcutter along with regional chains Jacksons, Bells, Morning Noon and Night, Botterills and David Sands. The retailers have been asked to nominate 1,000 stores to act as certified M-box delivery points for the initial rollout of the service in September. Using a powerful central computer system called the hub, M-box coordinates the delivery of goods bought from high street retailers and e-tailers to customers' doors. M-box chief operating officer Andrew Day said: "When a parcel arrives at the c-store it is scanned in by staff. That information is then uploaded to the hub, which in turn e-mails customers to inform them their goods are ready for collection." Stores receive a handling fee for each parcel. "One aspect of the service which is of particular relevance to c-stores is the returns mechanism," explained Day. "Each time a parcel comes back through the store it generates revenue and footfall." No investment will be required from stores participating in the first wave. M-box provides the equipment and promotional material. Londis marketing manager Kenton Lawton commented: "We can see delivery pick up points evolving into instore order points. This would extend the range of products and services, and offer our customers access to some of the biggest brands." David Sands, md of David Sands, a Scottish c-store chain with 13 outlets, described the partnership with M-box as a "logical move" to capitalise on the growth of online shopping. But selling the concept to consumers, many of who are still suspicious of and confused about home shopping, is "the most difficult task ahead". {{NEWS }}