Marks & Spencer has kickstarted the trial of a new food delivery service as it moves to ramp up its convenience credentials in the hotly competitive grocery sector.

Shoppers at its Camden branch are now able to order selected products, including drinks and desserts, to be delivered to their door “in as little as an hour”.

As well as “dinner for tonight” options, customers can also buy fresh food and groceries.

M&S is also piloting a click-and-collect service out of its Woodley store near Reading. Ready meals will be available for collection within an hour, with groceries available within two hours.

The retailer said the services were currently exclusive to its loyalty scheme members, and explained in a mailing to selected Sparks customers that the service is “not quite ready for everyone yet”.

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M&S is offering its Sparks customers in Camden 20% off and free delivery during the trial period and is asking for feedback.

It was reported earlier this year that the retailer was gearing up to launch an online grocery shopping service.

The move will enable M&S to compete not only with other major grocers but also with smaller, more upmarket players such as Farm Drop and new threats like Amazon Fresh.

M&S already sells party food and alcohol online but has so far avoided selling groceries as customers’ basket sizes have not typically been big enough to justify the logistics costs.

An M&S spokesperson said: “We have started two small food online trials with selected Sparks members as we explore what works for our customers.”

Read more: M&S’ small online food trial could lead to big things