Tim Steiner, chief executive at food delivery service Ocado, claims that his opposite number at Waitrose, Mark Price, is refusing to have meetings with him since Ocado did a deal to deliver for Morrisons, too.
Steiner said that he has been emailing and texting Price, but he refuses to meet for any kind of discussion. Speaking at the annual British Retail Consortium lecture, Steiner said that Price’s behaviour is a ‘joke’.
He added: ‘We have gone from a toddler to an unruly teenager. Now we are an adult. Sometimes the parent doesn’t like it when the child grows up.’ No doubt this received a few laughs in the auditorium.
On the other hand, this shouldn't come as much of a surprise to Steiner. Waitrose told the Telegraph on Wednesday night that Price will meet him only after lawyers have delved into the contract between Morrisons and Ocado, presumably looking for grounds for claiming breach of contract.
Ocado needs to play this one carefully – losing the Waitrose contract would shave 85% of its revenues off the balance sheet. That's an awful lot of smoked salmon and buffalo mozarella to make up for...