Ocado changes focus to solutions provider

From online grocer, Ocado has announced it has shifted its main focus to global software and robotics platform solutions provider.

In its first half results, chief executive Tim Steiner said: “In the last six months the centre of gravity at Ocado Group has shifted. Our exciting new joint venture with M&S creates further growth opportunities for both parties in the UK and allows Ocado Group to increase focus on growing our Ocado Solutions business and innovating for our partners. At the same time we are beginning to apply our technology skills and expertise to other related activities which we expect to be of benefit to our Solutions partners as well as to other Ocado Group stakeholders.

“The innovation factory we have created is founded on a near twenty-year heritage of constant re-examination and reinvention of technology to provide the best customer experience. We have never had as many opportunities to grow as we do today. As we look to successfully scale our business and deliver outstanding execution to our partners, our challenge will be to select and prioritise the most attractive of these opportunities.”

In its H1 trading statement the company said the Andover fire is set to hit its operating profit by £15 million, £8 million that results from reduced fees from Morrisons’ capacity holiday at the Erith site. The fire also resulted in £98.5 million of exceptional costs.

However, Ocado said: “We anticipate insurance payments relating to the Andover fire to provide a full indemnity for business disruption experienced over the next few years, including lost sales and cost inefficiencies, with the income, when recognised, as exceptional.”

Retail revenue was up 9.7 per cent at £803.2m while Solutions revenue was up 20.6 per cent at 70.8m. Adjusted operating profit was down from £34.8m in the first half of 2018 to £18.7m this year.

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