Ocado is ploughing millions of pounds into increasing distribution, introducing thousands of non-food items to its range and running its first TV ads.

As of next week, the online grocer will offer delivery to one million homes in the Leeds and Bradford area, home cities of Asda and Morrisons respectively. This will swell its coverage to 15.5 million households in England.

Ocado, which is part-owned and supplied by Waitrose, is also launching 4,000 non-food products, including homewares, stationery, hosiery, children's lunchboxes and smoke alarms. These will be supplied mostly by John Lewis Partnership, Waitrose's parent company.

An Ocado spokeswoman said the move was part of "continued efforts to compete with the giant supermarkets".

The improvements in the company's offer will be promoted through a multi-million pound advertising campaign to be aired on national TV this September.

Customer awareness is also being raised with a tour of food festivals throughout the summer and autumn. A casino-style promotional van, which includes a bar and roulette wheel, shows videos depicting the journey Ocado's food takes from warehouse to customer.

Other new incentives include a £50 on-time delivery guarantee for new customers.

Ocado said it was now taking approximately 77,000 orders a week. That compares with about 50,000 orders a week a year ago. The average basket size is now £113 compared with £105

12 months ago.

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