By James Davey
LONDON, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Amazon has stepped up
its move into Britain's grocery market, expanding its
relationship with Morrisons so Prime members have access
to the supermarket group's full range on the internet giant's
Amazon and Morrisons have had a tie-up since 2016 and have
been steadily expanding their links, leading to speculation that
the U.S. group could even emerge as a possible bidder for
Britain's No. 4 supermarket chain. Both sides habitually decline
comment on such market talk.
The coronavirus pandemic has seen a marked rise in demand
for online groceries. Market researcher Nielsen said on Tuesday
online grocery participation had grown to 14% of the UK grocery
market in the 12 weeks to Aug. 8, double its pre-crisis rate.
Amazon and Morrisons said on Wednesday that Prime members
would as part of their subscription be able to receive same-day
delivery on orders of more than 40 pounds ($53) for no extra
cost directly on the Amazon.co.uk website.
For orders worth less than 40 pounds there will be a 3.99
pound delivery charge.
They said "Morrisons on Amazon" launched in Leeds, northern
England, and will be expanded to millions of Prime members
across the United Kingdom in the coming weeks.
It will offer thousands of grocery products including meat,
seafood, dairy and baked goods, fruit and vegetables. Prices
will be the same as at Morrisons' stores.
Orders will be picked from local Morrisons stores by
Morrisons staff and delivered to customers by Amazon partners.
Prime is Amazon's core retail proposition, costing an annual
membership fee of 79 pounds. Membership provides access to
unlimited one-day delivery as well as services such as TV,
movies and music.
The Morrisons deal builds on Amazon's move last month to
begin free delivery of its own grocery service to Prime members.
Morrisons, which has a 10.2% market share, trails market
leader Tesco, Sainsbury's and Walmart's
Asda in annual sales.
Earlier this week Tesco CEO Dave Lewis told The Sunday
Telegraph it planned to add free delivery to its Clubcard Plus
($1 = 0.7553 pounds)
(Reporting by James Davey
Editing by David Holmes)