Leading supermarket chain Morrisons has made the first move of its e-commerce strategy with the acquisition of online retailer Kiddicare in a deal worth £70m.

The group, which is the only one of the ‘big four’ supermarkets without a significant online presence, said it will use the kiddicare.com platform, its management and its expertise to build an online non-food business.

Kiddicare, founded by Neville and Marilyn Wright in 1974, generated turnover of £37.5m in 2010 and has grown by 75% in the past three years.

As part of the deal, Morrisons will take over Kiddicare’s state-of-the-art distribution facility and what is currently the largest baby nursery equipment retail store in Europe based in Peterborough.

The company will continue to trade as its own entity, while the management team led by Scott and Elaine Weavers-Wright will remain in place.

Dalton Phillips, Chief Executive, Morrisons, 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 deal is subject to a number of terms and conditions, which if not achieved by 23 March 2011, would allow Morrisons to terminate the agreement.

Mr Phillips identified internet capabilities as a key part of his growth plan for the supermarket group in September 2010 following his appointment as chief executive.

Please note the views expressed in this blog are the views of the author, Andre Brown and do not represent the view of Locayta, its employees or its shareholders. For more information about Locayta, visit www.locayta.com