Waitrose today became the first UK supermarket chain to scrap delivery charges for groceries ordered online.
In a move which is likely to put pressure on other firms to follow suit, Waitrose is abolishing its £3 (€3.33) and £5 (€5.55) charging structure from Wednesday.
Supermarkets charge up to £7 (€7.77) per delivery, although the fees can be waived on larger orders and vary depending on the time of the week.
Waitrose managing director Mark Price said his company’s move brought “much-welcomed transparency” to the sector.
He said: “Customers tell us they don’t like delivery charges or short-term gimmicks. Prices go up and down depending on the times in the day. It’s confusing and it penalises some households.
“We’re listening and we believe it’s time for clarity – transparency and free delivery as standard no matter what time or day.”
WaitroseDeliver, the company’s online arm, has a minimum spend of £50(€55.53) and is currently available through 100 of the retailer’s 200 branches across the UK. It takes about 10,000 orders a week.
The Mail on Sunday said a new price war in the sector could be bad news for suppliers, who face being squeezed to make up the shortfall.
One told the newspaper: “All the supermarkets are examining their spending to try to remain as competitive as possible. This move will not be welcomed.”
The move will put pressure on Ocado, which delivers Waitrose produce largely within the M25. An agreement last year allowed Waitrose, which has a minority stake in Ocado, to expand its online arm outside of Caddo's M25 heartland.