Retail news round-up on June 29, 2015: Ocado closes in on international partnership, Amazon launches loans service and convenience store owners plough cash into stores.

Retail Week Breakfast Briefing

Ocado closes in on international deal

Ocado is close to clinching a deal with an international retailer that will allow the online grocer to expand outside the UK for the first time, The Telegraph reported. The retailer is due to report interim results this week, with the City expecting it to post a rise in sales and profits during its half-year. The etailer made its first full-year profit in 15 years when it revealed its preliminary results earlier this year, when boss Tim Steiner said he was “confident” Ocado would pen a deal with an international retailer by the end of 2015.

‘Amazon Lending’ to offer loans for traders

Amazon is poised to take on Britain’s high street banks by launching a small business lending arm, The Times reported. From June 30, the etailer will provide loans to ‘thousands’ of small and medium-sized companies that trade goods via Amazon’s Marketplace division for third-party sellers. Amazon Lending will initially be an invitation-only scheme but the company did not rule out expanding the service. The loans, from Amazon’s capital, will range from £1,000 to ‘hundreds of thousands of pounds’.

Convenience store owners injected £162m in last three months

Convenience store owners have pumped £162m of investment into their shops the past three months as they prepare to fend off big supermarkets in the battle for time-pressed shoppers. Small food shop owners, three-quarters of whom set up their stores as first businesses, have used their own reserves to help bolster their shops and better cater to customers’ immediate needs, the Mail on Sunday reported. The expansion is revealed in research by the Association of Convenience Stores, which represents the majority of Britain’s small food shops.

The survey revealed that 76% of retailers are funding investment through reserves, while only 4% are getting bank help. Much of the investment is to help stores provide wider ranges of food-for-now, such as meal deals, coffee, sandwiches, and food-for-tonight, which includes wider ranges of ready meals.