Ocado finance boss Duncan Tatton-Brown believes the etailer’s new fulfilment centre in Hampshire will help it finally strike an international deal.
The online grocer launched the state-of-the art facility in Andover during its fourth quarter – a period in which the business enjoyed a 13.1% spike in retail sales to £398.1m.
But despite another quarter of growing sales and average order numbers per week – which jumped 17.6% to 241,000 – Ocado has still not sealed a partnership with an international retailer.
The retailer’s boss Tim Steiner had previously stated his aim to tie up a deal by early 2016.
However, Tatton-Brown believes the new customer fulfilment centre, which uses the Ocado Smart Platform technology it is trying to sell to an international partner, could prove the catalyst to getting a deal over the line.
A marathon, not a sprint
He said: “Without doubt, it will be easier to talk to retailers about what we do when we can demonstrate the live facility using the technology that we have talked about.
“So it is helpful and our confidence remains undiminished on this.
“Yes, it has taken some time, but this isn’t a sprint, this is a marathon.”
Elaborating on how the new fulfilment centre would help its negotiations with international retailers, Tatton-Brown added: “If I talk about it like buying a car – if you were buying a BMW and you’d seen the 2002 model, you’d seen the 2012 model, and then BMW said they had a really good model coming out in 2016, are you likely to buy it?
“The answer is yes, you trust that BMW make good cars, so you’d buy one. But you are sure as hell more likely to buy one when you can go to the showroom, see the car and drive it.
“It’s about showing how it works and showing it live in operation.”
Tatton-Brown did not put a timeline on when an international deal would be done, but insisted Ocado was “making progress all the time” with its efforts to find a partner.