As Morrisons and Ocado agree a 25-year partnership to aid Morrisons’ launch of online grocery next year, Retail Week looks at the development of the companies since Ocado entered the competitive UK grocery market.

Ocado receipt

2000

Morrisons

The grocer, founded in 1899 by egg and butter merchant William Morrison from a stall in a Bradford, has 100 stores and has just opened its first Welsh shop as Ocado entered the grocery market. Ken Morrison is awarded a Knighthood in the 2000 New Year’s Honours List, for services to food retailing.

Ocado

Ocado is founded by Tim Steiner, Jason Gissing and Jonathan Faiman as L.M. Solutions (UK) Limited in April 2000 before changing its name to Ocado in June 2001. In October 2000, Ocado enters into its first branding and sourcing arrangements with Waitrose.

2001

Morrisons

Following a 35 year record of sales and profit growth since going public in 1967, Morrisons joins the FTSE 100 for the first time in April.

Ocado

Ocado begins to equip a temporary warehouse in May 2001. It starts piloting deliveries in October 2001.

2002

Morrisons

Morrisons’ proposals to merge with Safeway are referred to Competition Commission by the Office of Fair Trading.

Ocado

Ocado starts commercial delivery service in January, operating initially in the small Hertfordshire area of St. Albans and Hemel Hempstead. Over its first 12 months Ocado’s delivery area increased from an initial 100,000 households to approximately 2.2 million households. In September, Ocado opened its first customer fulfillment in Hatfield. Opened its first ‘spoke’ small distribution centre in Weybridge, Surrey.

2003

Morrisons

Morrisons makes £3bn offer for Safeway vying with rivals Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco for the retailer. BHS owner Philip Green and US buyout specialist Kohlberg Kravis Roberts are also interested.

Ocado

The etailer steamlines its operations within its Hatfield distribution centre from a three stage to a two stage process in September.

2004

Morrisons

Morrisons completes the takeover of Safeway, creating the UK’s fourth largest supermarket group. To serve the enlarged group, Morrisons acquires an additional fresh produce packhouse and distribution centre at Thrapston in Northamptonshire. It opens its first Scottish store.

Ocado

The first conveyor belts are installed in Hatfield in April as the customer fulfillment centre develops further.

2005

Morrisons

In November, Morrisons completes the process of converting Safeway stores to the Morrisons format, the biggest retail conversion exercise ever undertaken in the UK. The retailer appoints Richard Pennycook as group finance director from RAC who joins new chief executive Bob Stott.

Ocado

Ocado delivery area expanded to cover over 10 million households in May.

2006

Morrisons

In April, some 1,500 Morrisons employees move into a new 331,000 sq ft head office building on Gain Lane in Thornbury, Bradford. Heineken chief executive Marc Bolland succeeds Stott.

Ocado

The etailer hits 50,000 orders delivered in a week for the first time in July.

2007

Morrisons

Following the news Sir Ken Morrison is standing down as the chairman of the Company, Sir Ian Gibson is appointed as non-executive deputy chairman of the group, he will go on to become chairman. A new advertising and branding campaign is launched claiming Morrisons prepares a wider range of fresh food in store each day.

Ocado

In November the business enters the black with its first positive EBITDA.

2008

Morrisons

Sir Ken Morrison retires after being honoured with an award for Outstanding Contribution to Retail at the Retail Week Awards after 55 years of service, Morrisons is named retailer of the year. At this point, Morrisons has 370 stores and nine million customers a week.

Ocado

The etailer introduces a number of range and service improvements from its Ocado Everyday line to its delivery pass.

2009

Morrisons

Turnover hits £14bn and weekly shoppers 10 million. It employs 240,000 staff.

Ocado

The etailer launches its Ocado on the Go iPhone app in July and opens up its service on to deliver on Sundays.

2010

Morrisons

Retail Week reveals Irishman and former Loblaw chief operating officer Dalton Philips is to succeed to Bolland as its chief executive. Morrisons chairman Sir Ian Gibson lauds Philips’ “tremendous retail pedigree and a wealth of experience from senior retail positions around the world”.

Ocado

The amount shoppers were predicted to spend on Christmas Eve, according to research from Sainsbury’s Bank.

2010

Morrisons

Retail Week reveals Irishman and former Loblaw chief operating officer Dalton Philips is to succeed Bolland as its chief executive. Morrisons chairman Sir Ian Gibson lauds Philips’ “tremendous retail pedigree and a wealth of experience from senior retail positions around the world”.

Ocado

Ocado hits 100,000 orders delivered in a week for the first time in May and signs a new 10 year deal was signed with Waitrose in the same month. The company reports a profitable final quarter for the first time as a public company. After months of speculation Ocado floats on the stock exchange in June.

2011

Morrisons

Morrisons acquires baby retailer Kiddicare for £70m and takes a £32m stake in New York online grocer Fresh Direct as it aims to understand ecommerce ahead of a potential online retail launch. It opens firs M Local convenience store in Ilkley.

Ocado

The Ocado delivery area expanded to over 70% of UK households. Bristol spoke opened in March. The etailer issues a profit warning in December after bottlenecks at its distribution centre.

2012

Morrisons

The grocer launches a transactional wine website – Morrisonscellar.com – in its first eponymous foray into ecommerce. It appoints Gordon Mowat as its first convenience managing director and acquires a distribution centre in Feltham to spearhead a southern push for its M Local fascia.

Ocado

Ocado reveals plans to open a host of specialist websites in categories including health and beauty and pets in Steiner’s plan to turn the business from a “supermarket, to a hypermarket and then a specialist”. Former B&Q finance director Duncan Tatton-Brown appointed as chief financial officer.

2013

Morrisons

The grocer snaps up seven former Jessops and 49 former Blockbuster stores to aid the growth of its Morrisons M Local business. Its first range of clothing, Nutmeg, is launched to fuel non-food growth. A deal with Ocado to aid an online grocery launch in January 2014 is agreed in May.

Ocado

Ocado opens its second customer fulfillment centre in Dordon, Warwickshire in February before entering talks with Morrisons in March. A deal with Morrisons is signed in May.