The structure of the Ocado business changed fundamentally after a £1.5bn joint venture partnership was struck with Marks & Spencer in February 2019. 

The deal effectively split the online grocery business, now Ocado Retail, from Ocado Solutions, its technology division that provides ecommerce infrastructure through its Smart Platform to a growing list of grocery businesses, both in the UK and in Europe, North America, Japan and Australia.

The joint venture –  in which M&S took a 50% shareholding in the online grocery business, with Ocado retaining ownership of the other half – launched in September 2020. The switchover brought to an end the 20-year delivery partnership between Ocado and Waitrose, and took M&S food online at scale for the first time.

Ocado was founded by chief executive Tim Steiner and fellow former city traders Jason Gissing and Jonathan Faiman in 2000,and broke new ground as Britain’s first pureplay online grocer. The business was floated in 2010, the year in which it delivered 100,000 orders in a week for the first time, and by 2015, a year after it brought Morrisons on board as a partner, sales broke the £1bn mark.

The following profile focuses mainly on the strategy and financials of Ocado Retail.

Innovation rating: 4

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