Morrisons is close to signing a distribution deal with online grocer Ocado in an attempt to kick-start its online assault.

The deal, which could be revealed in the next two weeks, is expected to be a joint venture agreement, according to the Financial Times, and will not involve Morrisons acquiring or taking a stake in the etailer.

Ocado is set to supply Morrisons’ online grocery business from its newly opened Dordon base. The service would be branded Morrisons but would use Ocado’s website and warehouse technology.

Waitrose, which has a similar agreement with Ocado, is expected to examine the terms of any deal closely. Its own supply agreement can be terminated as early as March 2017.

Morrisons vowed to launch online grocery shopping by the end of January 2014, but said that is not dependent on the Ocado deal. The Bradford-based supermarket has lost ground on rivals over the past year and chief executive Dalton Philips has blamed its lack of online and convenience exposure.