Retail buying group Nisa is developing plans to launch a consumer-facing online grocery business.

The group recently held a summit in Leeds for its symbol group members and asked the 260 delegates to vote on whether they would be interested in developing a consumer-facing transactional website.

The retailers “overwhelmingly” voted for the idea, which will now be explored by Nisa.

“We invited our symbol members to the summit to find out what they would like to see from us and this is one of the things they wanted,” said Nisa CEO Neil Turton.

The idea was still in the very early stages of development, Turton added, and as yet there was no timescale set as to when the site could be fully functional.

Retailers also voted on whether they would still like a website if they had to share some of the cost, and this was also backed, Turton said.

Nisa group symbol director John Heagney added that members were fully aware of the complexities of online retailing. “They know they’re going to have to be really, really good,” he said. “It’s going to be difficult and availability will have to be spot on.”

Although a transactional website would be an ambitious step for the sector, the move is not as drastic for Nisa as it may seem. Many of its members already operate home delivery in their stores, whereby customers shop in store and then have it delivered later.

Nisa currently has 850 Nisa-branded symbol stores. A new wave of TV advertising launches on Monday.