Morrisons has taken the first major step in its e-commerce strategy with the acquisition of online retailer Kiddicare for £70 million.
The supermarket group, which is the only one of the “Big Four” grocers not to have a significant internet business, said it will use the kiddicare.com platform and management team to build an online non-food business.
Kiddicare, founded in 1974 by Neville and Marilyn Wright, generated turnover of £37.5 million last year and has grown by 75% in the past three years.
It has its own state-of-the-art distribution facility and operates the largest baby nursery equipment retail store in Europe based in Peterborough.
The company will continue to trade separately as kiddicare.com, while the management led by Scott and Elaine Weavers-Wright will remain in place.
Morrisons chief executive Dalton Philips said: “They are two of the most talented and respected operators of online retail today and their experience and track record with Kiddicare.com has been outstanding.
“Their knowledge and expertise will be invaluable as Morrisons builds its online business.”
The acquisition is subject to certain conditions which, if not achieved by March 23, would allow Morrisons to terminate the agreement.
In September, Mr Philips identified an internet operation as a key part of his growth plans following his appointment as chief executive. He has also started a trial of a new convenience store format.