Jun 1, 2021

Ocado weighs retail opportunities beyond the UK

Ocado is considering a future expansion of its retail operations outside the UK for the first time, its chief executive has said. "The pandemic, we believe, has permanently accelerated the channel shift and some of those markets that were behind the UK are more attractive for somebody to enter aggressively now than they were before the pandemic," said the Ocado chief executive. As rapid delivery start-ups are spending hundreds of millions of pounds to open dozens of "Dark stores" across the UK and to promote their apps, Ocado is progressing more cautiously with its own one-hour-delivery service, Zoom. That still leaves opportunities for Ocado Retail in markets such as Germany, Spain or Italy, where online grocery penetration is still about half UK levels, according to Bain & Co. "The next five, 10 years, you may well find that we decide to run a retail business outside the UK," Steiner said, although he stressed that no decisions were imminent. Although Ocado has not signed up any new supermarket clients since 2019, he denied that was driving what he called a "Thought process" about retail expansion.

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