Morrisons will begin delivering groceries ordered online to households in Bradford, Skipton and other parts of Yorkshire next week.
The Bradford-based retailer, which launched its online groceries business Morrisons.com in the Midlands earlier this month, is anticipating strong demand for the new service in its heartland area.
Local deliveries to the catchment area of 1.895 million households will start on Monday, February 3, but customers can register, order and book a delivery slot at Morrisons.com in advance.
Morrisons promises to deliver orders within a one-hour time frame – half that of many of its rivals – to ensure customers do not have to wait in for too long.
Customers will have to pay £1, £3, or £5 for deliveries, depending on the time of the day, and each order must be worth at least £40.
In a hi-tech promotional video release circulated to journalists, the company’s head of Simon Thompson said the aim was to achieve a world-beating standard of service.
Orders will go to its giant central distribution centre which holds about £500 million worth of stock and be taken to a local distribution hub in Birstall where individual orders will be transferred to delivery vans.
Morrisons’ online grocery service – using the Ocado online operating systems through a £216 million partnership deal between the two retailers – aims to cover half of UK households by next year.
The move is seen as key to restoring Morrisons failing fortunes.
Boss Dalton Philips has admitted that the company’s absence from the online food market had cost it £500 million a year in lost sales.
Last Christmas Morrisons’ like-for-like sales slumped by 5.6 per cent while rivals with online operations benefited from surging internet sales over the 2013-14 festive period.
Morrisons is pitching its online operation as a ‘virtual store’ with customers able to place orders with butcher’s bakers and fishmongers for specific cuts of meat and bread is baked specially for the online service.
Before taking delivery of goods customers will be able to check every item and reject those they do not think meets the right quality or use-by dates.
A Morrisons spokesman said five minutes had been built into every delivery to ensure customer should check through their order before accepting it and paying. Rejected goods will go back to the depot and customers will receive a voucher to their value.
“We’re trying to marry the online operation to the in-store experience with a strong focus on the freshness and quality of our food. To date, we’ve had very few rejections or complaints There was strong interest in the Morrisons.com offering as its started and we’d expect this to be so as we extend the service into our heartland area,” he said.