Marks & Spencer is aiming to double its food business to more than £12bn over the next five years after striking its joint venture with Ocado.

According to the Mail on Sunday, M&S is aiming to leverage the home delivery service and offer its full range of food in more stores in a bid to “attract additional family shoppers”. 

City sources suggested that senior management at the retailer are eyeing the £12bn food sales target, which would be larger than M&S’ total sales at present, including food, clothing and international sales. 

The £12bn target is said to be an “aspiration rather than a plan” at this stage. But if M&S were to hit that figure, its grocery sales would overtake those of Waitrose and the Co-op, and allow it to close the gap considerably on the UK’s fourth-largest food retailer, Morrisons.

It is understood that M&S will use parts of shops currently selling clothes to be able to stock its full, 6,500-SKU range of food in more branches and will make out-of-town stores with car parking a priority.

M&S acquired a 50% stake in the Ocado Retail business for £750m in February. M&S boss Steve Rowe hailed the deal as the retailer’s “biggest and boldest moment” in its ongoing digital transformation plan. 

Ocado currently has a deal with Waitrose, which will come to an end in September, as a result of its joint venture with M&S.