Marks & Spencer was centre of attention today after declaring its intentions to finally board the online grocery train later this year.

The high-street stalwart’s boss Steve Rowe said the business wants to be prepared when its customers are ready to migrate online.

But he admitted that the economics of food online are not straightforward — and he’s right.

Tesco remained tight-lipped on the profitability of its ecommerce business at its full-year results earlier this month.

Demonstrating the challenging nature of an online food venture, the grocer’s boss Dave Lewis insisted its online model is “sustainable”, but was achieving margins below the group’s average.

Likewise, food etail aficionado Ocado languished in the red for some 15 years before it finally managed to turn a profit.

Still, although it has a typically small basket size, M&S is right to get in the game while the likes of Amazon Fresh and Deliveroo are transforming the way people shop for food.

There’s even some speculation that M&S could get into bed with Ocado as it assesses ways to make its new venture a fruitful one.

Also today, Debenhams boss Sergio Bucher made two major appointments – the first under his newly unveiled regime. 

He hired former Sainsbury’s IT director Angela Morrison as technology and supply chain director, and Sally Hyndman, who used to work for Dixons Carphone, as the department stores’ new HR director.  

Quote of the day

“It’s still Day One for ecommerce in India, and I assure you that we’ll keep investing in technology and infrastructure while working hard to invent on behalf of our customers and small and medium businesses in India.”

Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos commenting on the etail giant’s foray into the Indian market. 

Today in numbers


The level consumer confidence slipped to in April, according to GfK’s Consumer Confidence Index


The number of Sainsbury’s patisserie counters that will offer Patisserie Valerie cakes on a trial basis

Tomorrow’s agenda

Tomorrow marks the start of another bank holiday weekend. Happy trading retailers. 

Emily Hardy, senior reporter