Waitrose 'giving Ocado cold shoulder after Morrisons deal'
'Sometimes a parent doesn't like it when the child grows up,' claims Ocado boss Tim Steiner
WAITROSE managing director Mark Price is ignoring the emails and text messages of Ocado boss Tim Steiner following the online grocer's deal with rival supermarket Morrisons, reports the Daily Telegraph.
Speaking after he delivered the British Retail Consortium lecture in London last night, Steiner claimed Price was refusing to meet with him and said Waitrose's reaction to the Morrisons deal has been a "joke".
He added that Waitrose has been unsettled by the rise of Ocado. "We have gone from a toddler to an unruly teenager. Now we are an adult," he said. "Sometimes the parent doesn't like it when the child grows up."
Steiner's comments come less than a week after Morrisons agreed to launch an online shopping service with Ocado. While Ocado said that the Morrisons deal would not affect its ongoing partnership with Waitrose, The Times reported that Waitrose was prepared to take legal action against Ocado over its plans to partner with a rival.
One Waitrose insider told the paper: "Why does Ocado think that Waitrose would be happy to see them introduce competition into the marketplace against the background of the agreement we have?"
Ahead of the deal being confirmed, Price said: "I'll want to look really closely at that contract to see whether there is any breach of the agreement we have [with Ocado]."
Waitrose has told the Telegraph that Price will meet with the online supermarket - but only after they have had the chance to fully study Ocado's contract with Morrisons.