July 9, 2019 / 12:34 PM / 8 days ago

M&S targets doubling of food business after Ocado deal

LONDON, July 9 (Reuters) - British retailer Marks & Spencer is targeting a doubling of its 6 billion pound ($7.5 billion) food business, driven by its new joint venture with online supermarket Ocado, its chairman said on Tuesday.

In February M&S purchased a 50% share of Ocado’s UK retail business for an initial 562.5 million pounds, providing M&S with a home-delivery service from September 2020 at the latest.

“Our ambition is to double the size of our food business and Ocado sets us well on the way to doing that,” Archie Norman told investors at M&S’s annual shareholders’ meeting.

“We think this is transformational for our business,” he said. “I have to tell you not everybody outside yet realises what we’ve done.”

Retail industry veteran Norman, best known for transforming the fortunes of British supermarket chain Asda in the 1990s, joined M&S as chairman in 2017.

$1 = 0.8034 pounds Reporting by James Davey. Editing by Andrew MacAskill

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