Upmarket grocer Waitrose has invested £10m in its online business as it ramps up its web operation to take on rivals including Ocado.

The grocer is developing a new website to launch next month as it prepares to roll out its delivery service in London. Until last year Waitrose was banned from delivering within the M25 as part of an agreement with Ocado.

However under a new agreement signed in May Waitrose can now deliver to London customers.

Waitrose managing director Mark Price told the Sunday Telegraph: “This investment in our online platform will dramatically enhance the customer experience so that shoppers receive the unrivalled standards of service and the personal touch they associate with our branches.

“With more investment planned, this new platform accelerates our progress as a truly multi channel retailer.”

According to the Independent on Sunday, Waitrose is in talks with potential franchise partners in South Africa, Australia and the Far East.

Elsewhere the upmarket grocer has suffered a blow as supermarket Morrisons has poached Waitrose’s executive chef Neil Nugent. He will help Morrisons develop its own label ranges, according to The Times.

Separately, New York hedge fund manager Elinor Carter Simonds of Blue Ridge Capital is facing a loss of nearly £40m after taking an aggressive short position on Ocado, according to the Sunday Times.