Supermarket Morrisons has released its space at Ocado’s Erith customer fulfilment centre (CFC) to help address the online retailer's capacity shortfall following a recent fire at its Andover hub.

In an online trading statement issued today, it said Ocado will now have sole use of its newest CFC until January 2021.

Morrisons will return to its "pre-agreed proportion" of the Erith CFC in February 2021, by which time the site should be up and running at a higher capacity to enable the supermarket to ramp-up its online offer more quickly and cost effectively.

In the meantime, Morrisons will not incur any start-up or running costs for the new Erith site.

It will also still achieve growth through an acceleration of Ocado’s store pick capacity and through its Dordon CFC.

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In addition, both companies have agreed that Ocado will no longer be Morrisons exclusive digital partner, thereby potentially enabling other opportunities, more strategic flexibility, and more profitable growth for the latter.

David Potts, chief executive, said: "We are pleased to be helping our partner in times of need after the recent fire. We will keep growing for our customers and save some cost, returning to the Erith CFC when it is more mature."

He added: "Our new agreement allows us to have more than one digital partner, and opens the way for significant potential opportunities and partnerships in this important growth area for Morrisons."