Online grocer Ocado is weighing up retail opportunities outside its domestic market.

Ocado founder and chief executive Tim Steiner told the Financial Times that the present model of selling Ocado technology to overseas partners was “ideal” but the etailer has not ruled out new market entries itself.

Ocado would only consider a move into places where it does not already have a partner, meaning that some big markets in western Europe would be among the options. 

Steiner said: “The pandemic, we believe, has permanently accelerated the channel shift [to ecommerce] and some of those markets that were behind the UK are more attractive for somebody to enter aggressively now than they were before.

“If we haven’t got the right potential partner there, then they’re more attractive for us to think about ourselves.”

Steiner also raised doubts over the sustainability of some of the new breed of rapid delivery specialists, which has grown rapidly during the pandemic. 

He said: “Anything that’s come of age during the pandemic, I think you’ve got to take a very careful look at it to say: does it offer a proposition and a value that in a post-pandemic world is going to be attractive?” 

Ocado is focusing on its warehouse model but has its own rapid service, Zoom, which could be expanded.

Steiner said: “We might be going at this more prudently than others, but we may well emerge – in the kind of tortoise-and-hare style – as the winner in that [rapid grocery] space as well.

“It is very early to write us off in the immediacy space because we definitely know how to do this, and how to do it profitably as opposed to doing it crazily.”

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