CINCINNATI, May 17, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR) and online supermarket Ocado today announced an exclusive partnership agreement in the United States that will accelerate Kroger’s creation of a seamless shopping experience for America’s families.

The Kroger Co. Logo (PRNewsFoto/The Kroger Co.) (PRNewsFoto/The Kroger Co.)

The alliance will bring to the U.S. for the first time the unparalleled technology underpinnings of the Ocado Smart Platform, which includes online ordering, automated fulfillment and home delivery capabilities.  

As part of the partnership agreement, Kroger will increase its existing investment in Ocado by five percent in a subscription rights agreement. This will bring the company’s total investment to more than six percent. Ocado will partner exclusively with Kroger in the U.S., enhancing Kroger’s digital and robotics capabilities and helping expand its seamless coverage area to provide every family in America with the convenience of shopping for anything, anytime and anywhere.

“We see Ocado as an innovative, exciting and transformative partnership in pursuit of our Restock Kroger vision, to serve America through food inspiration and uplift,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO. “We are actively creating a seamless digital experience for our customers. Our partnership with Ocado will speed up our efforts to redefine the food and grocery customer experience – creating value for customers and shareholders alike.”

“Ocado’s unique, proprietary and industry-leading technology is set to transform the shopping experience of consumers around the world,” said Tim Steiner, CEO of Ocado Group. “Our success as a retailer shows that we can offer customers unrivalled choice, quality and convenience, efficiently and profitably. 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 U.S. in the years to come.”

Kroger and Ocado are already working to identify the first three sites in 2018 for development of new, automated warehouse facilities in the U.S., and will identify up to a total of 20 over the first three years of the agreement.

“We look forward to innovating together with Ocado to provide our customers the best possible online and in store experience,” said Alex Tosolini, senior vice president of business development. “Through Restock Kroger, we will continue expanding partnerships to create customer value.”

The new relationship is not expected to affect Kroger’s earnings per diluted share guidance range for 2018 and 2019 as it is already reflected in the company’s Restock Kroger plan.

About Kroger
At The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR), we are dedicated to our Purpose: to Feed the Human Spirit™. We are nearly half a million associates who serve nine million customers daily through a seamless digital shopping experience and 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banner names, serving America through food inspiration and uplift, and creating #ZeroHungerZeroWaste communities by 2025. To learn more about us, visit our newsroom and investor relations site.

About Ocado
Ocado is a UK based company admitted to trading on the London Stock Exchange (Ticker OCDO).  It comprises one of the world’s largest dedicated online grocery retailers, operating its own grocery and general merchandise retail businesses under Ocado.com and other specialist shop banners, together with its Solutions division.

About Ocado Solutions
Ocado Solutions is responsible for corporate partnering, which began with its agreement to operate the online business of Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc in the UK, and more recently with agreements with Groupe Casino, Sobeys and ICA Group to develop their online businesses in France, Canada and Sweden respectively.

OSP is an enabling platform provided as a service to retailers. It comprises access to Ocado’s physical infrastructure solutions to run highly efficient warehouse operations for the single pick of products, together with the entire end-to-end proprietary software applications required to operate an online grocery business – from user interfaces, through warehouse operating and control systems, to logistics, route planning and optimisation. It is underpinned by Ocado’s expertise and experience as a dedicated online grocery operator in the UK.

Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 about future performance of Kroger. These statements are based on management’s assumptions and beliefs in light of the information currently available to it. These statements are indicated by words such as “will,” “continue,” “expect,” and similar words.  Various uncertainties and other factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements. These include the specific risk factors identified in “Risk Factors” and “Outlook” in Kroger’s annual report on Form 10-K for our last fiscal year and any subsequent filings, as well as the following:

  • Kroger’s ability to achieve sales, earnings and cash flow goals may be affected by: labor negotiations or disputes; changes in the types and numbers of businesses that compete with Kroger; pricing and promotional activities of existing and new competitors, including non-traditional competitors, and the aggressiveness of that competition; Kroger’s response to these actions; the state of the economy, including interest rates, the inflationary and deflationary trends in certain commodities, and the unemployment rate; the effect that fuel costs have on consumer spending; volatility of fuel margins; changes in government-funded benefit programs; manufacturing commodity costs; diesel fuel costs related to Kroger’s logistics operations; trends in consumer spending; the extent to which Kroger’s customers exercise caution in their purchasing in response to economic conditions; the inconsistent pace of the economic recovery; changes in inflation or deflation in product and operating costs; stock repurchases; Kroger’s ability to retain pharmacy sales from third party payors; consolidation in the healthcare industry, including pharmacy benefit managers; Kroger’s ability to negotiate modifications to multi-employer pension plans; natural disasters or adverse weather conditions; the potential costs and risks associated with potential cyber-attacks or data security breaches; the success of Kroger’s future growth plans; the ability to execute on Restock Kroger; and the successful integration of Harris Teeter and Roundy’s. Kroger’s ability to achieve sales and earnings goals may also be affected by Kroger’s ability to manage the factors identified above. Kroger’s ability to execute its financial strategy may be affected by its ability to generate cash flow.

 

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SOURCE The Kroger Co.