M&S foodhall Matlock web

Source: Marks & Spencer

M&S has been testing the in-store picking model at its Colliers Wood, Merton and Camden, north London branches

M&S is ending its grocery delivery trial this month as it shifts its focus to its joint venture with Ocado.

The upmarket retailer is due to introduce an online grocery delivery service with Ocado when its 19-year contract with Waitrose ends in September 2020.

It had been testing the in-store picking model at its Colliers Wood, Merton and Camden, north London branches.

Shoppers within a three-mile radius of the stores can order food products from across M&S’s fresh, frozen, grocery and home lines for home delivery until 27 March.

The trial at its Colliers Wood shop, which launched in May last year, offers £10 off orders of £50 and over. It is open to all customers as opposed to exclusively for the retailer’s Sparks loyalty scheme, as other past trials have been.

Its Camden branch trial, however, has been running since 2017, and includes express delivery for £6.99 for 20 items or less within an hour of Sparks members’ online checkout, £1.99 for a one-hour delivery slot, or a free click & collect service within two hours.

The retailer also conducted a similar format from its Woodley, Reading branch, which offered a click & collect service for Sparks loyalty cardholders, and came to an end last year.

Read more: M&S and Ocado forge a transformational deal - at what cost?

M&S said its prior online delivery trials were “uneconomical due to the high cost of manually picking from store”, moving stock from distribution centres to stores and store replenishment, as well as customers’ basket size when it announced its £750m deal with Ocado last month.

“Developing best-in-class technology and investing in fulfilment centres would delay the implementation of our transformation programme and carry significant execution risk,” it added.

A spokeswoman for M&S said its joint venture is the “most profitable and scalable way” for it to offer food deliveries for customers.