On­line gro­cer Ocado’s CEO up­beat af­ter Ama­zon’s move

Irish Independent - Business Week - - BUSINESSWEEK -

OCADO Group’s CEO Tim Steiner has said the UK on­line gro­cer’s chances of li­cens­ing its tech­nol­ogy to a US coun­ter­part have been boosted by Ama­zon.com’s ac­qui­si­tion of Whole Foods Mar­ket.

The $13.7bn (€12.1bn) deal “is a pos­i­tive move for our so­lu­tions busi­ness and we’ve seen in­creased in­ter­est from play­ers in the US”, said Mr Steiner. He has been talk­ing up the po­ten­tial for in­ter­na­tional part­ner­ships for sev­eral years, but so far has only signed up an as-yet uniden­ti­fied re­gional Euro­pean re­tailer. Ocado is in talks with a num­ber of US gro­cers, he re­vealed.

Ama­zon’s agree­ment to buy Whole Foods has caused scep­ti­cal US su­per­mar­kets to rethink the po­ten­tial size of the on­line mar­ket, ac­cord­ing to Mr Steiner. Only about 1pc to 2pc of the US food re­tail in­dus­try has moved on­line, al­though this is fore­cast to rise to 6pc over the next five years.

Ocado re­ported a 9.4pc drop in first-half pre-tax profit, linked to the open­ing of a new dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tre.

Shares rose 1.2pc to 293.1 pence at 9.04am in Lon­don, af­ter ini­tially gain­ing 5.5pc. Ocado’s so-called smart plat­form en­com­passes ev­ery­thing from ro­bots that pick gro­ceries to soft­ware that routes de­liv­ery vans. The com­pany gen­er­ates min­i­mal profit from its own re­tail busi­ness, so li­cens­ing deals are seen as cru­cial to growth. (Bloomberg)

CEO Tim Steiner re­vealed that Ocado is in talks with sev­eral US gro­cers

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