Ocado has entered into a deal with Kroger, through which it will build automated warehouses and supply software to the US supermarket chain.

This marks Ocado’s fourth international partnership, following deals with Casino GroupSobeys and ICA.

The tie-up means Kroger will adopt Ocado’s centralised warehousing model via its Smart Warehousing Platform.

The two companies plan to open upwards of 20 warehouses in the next two years and are already working to identify the first three sites.

Kroger has taken a 5% stake in Ocado as part of the deal, equivalent to £183m. 

Ocado chief executive Tim Steiner said: “The opportunity to partner with Kroger to transform the way in which US customers buy grocery represents a huge opportunity to redefine the grocery experience of Kroger’s customers and create value for the stakeholders of both Kroger and Ocado.

“As we work through the terms of the services agreement with Kroger in the coming months, we will be preparing the business for a transformative relationship which will reshape the food retailing industry in the US in the years to come.”

Like Ocado’s other international partnerships, the firm expects the financial impact of the deal to materialise after the end of the 2018 financial year.

Ocado now has pledged to discontinue discussions with all other US grocers. 

Kroger is a market leader in the US, with sales in 2017 of $122bn.