Analysis: Compete or collaborate? Why Tesco, M&S and Harrods are joining forces with rivals


With the threat of Amazon looming over most in the sector, some retailers are doing away with long-standing rivalries in order to take on the online Goliath. But how should retailers decide when to compete and when to collaborate?

Last year, one-time bitter media rivals BBC and ITV unveiled plans to collaborate on a streaming service, which would enable users to watch programmes from across both channels in one place.

The one-time unthinkable tie-up, called Britbox, was motivated by the need for both traditional platforms to launch a defence against the stratospheric rise of streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. The tie-up is a living example of the old adage ‘My enemy’s enemy is my friend’.

Teaming up with the competition to fight a greater battle is becoming increasingly common in the retail world, too. From traditional grocer M&S tying up with Ocado, to Sainsbury’s attempted merger with Asda, there are plenty of examples of former rivals joining – or at least attempting to join – forces to win customer spend.

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