It’s official – as far as Ocado is concerned the shift in grocery shopping habits brought about by the pandemic is permanent.
This tallies with what many people have said about the impact of Covid on retail and other sectors, it hasn’t changed the tape so much as hit fast forward.
“While coronavirus has clearly been a catalyst for doing the weekly shop over the web, many of these new customers seem likely to stick with it for the convenience factor. And it’s not just happening in the UK, this is a worldwide phenomenon.
“These changes are great news for Ocado which has positioned itself right at the centre of the transition in the supermarket sector,” according to AJ Bell.
“Ocado still needs to deliver on profit but it is getting closer, with losses narrowing significantly. It has faced teething problems, sometimes struggling to keep up with demand but for the most part it has coped with the rapid shifts in customer purchasing patterns over the last 12 months.
“While its joint venture with Marks & Spencer is the most visible part of the group, the future for Ocado is its Ocado Smart Platform, licensing systems to global grocery firms to power their fulfilment centres – essentially big warehouses with robot pickers.
“Here Covid has been something of a double-edged sword with travel restrictions stalling attempts to sign up more customers – however, this may at least allow some time to make progress with the partners already signed up.
“It is also impressive to see Ocado is not resting on its laurels, talking about further investment in technology and potential acquisitions as it looks to supercharge its growth.
“The other fly in the ointment is the legal action being pursued by Norway’s Autostore over robot technology patents. Ocado is, as you would expect, mounting a very robust defence with the lawyers likely to do quite nicely whatever the ultimate outcome.”