Marks & Spencer (M&S) is planning to trial an online food delivery service later this year.

Currently customers can buy online party food - for collection in store - from M&S and the group also delivers wine and gift foods such as chocolate, sweets and hampers, but this will mark its first attempt at offering a wider grocery selection.

Steve Rowe, chief executive of M&S, said: “We continue to review food online carefully. It has not cost us anything over the last five years by not being online with food. Our customers haven’t moved yet, but they will and we need to ensure that we are ready with the right response. There are unanswered questions over what this means for M&S and we have a team looking at this now with a view to undertaking a soft trial in the autumn.”

The announcement comes a week after M&S announced it would be opening 36 new UK stores over the next six months, 34 of which will be dedicated to its successful food business.