ESM: A Year In Retail – Ocado: Version 2.0, Issue 1, 2019
Over the past year, online-only retailer Ocado has cast its net internationally, with the development of its Ocado Smart Platform. Stephen Wynne-Jones spoke to Ocado Solutions CEO Luke Jensen. This article appeared in ESM Issue 1, 2019.
As investment opportunities go, online-only supermarket player Ocado is very much a long game. Having famously taken 15 years to turn over its first full-year pre-tax profit, the slow adoption of grocery e-commerce in the British marketplace has no doubt tested the patience of CEO Tim Steiner and his team in the years since the company was founded, back in April 2000... the heady days of the dotcom bubble.
Fast-forward to the present day, however, and Ocado is going places – literally. The formation of the Ocado Smart Platform in 2017 (which forms part of its Ocado Solutions business), has seen the company offer its technology to retail third parties for the first time, and has given the group a presence in markets such as France, Sweden, the US and Canada. The platform also helped lift Ocado’s share price to a high of £1,146 last summer – a world away from the £230 to £250 mark at which it was trading back in late 2017.
Ocado announced its full year results on 5 February, in which it said that revenue from the Solutions business rose by 15.8% to £123.0 million (group revenue was £1.6 billion, a 12.3% rise). Announcing the results, CEO Tim Steiner said that the retailer’s “growth story [...] is only just beginning”, noting that Ocado is looking forward to new opportunities with “excitement and determination”.
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