Monday, January 22, 2018

Sobeys joins online shopping competition

Sobeys has made a deal with a British company to enable shoppers to order groceries online.

It will begin with a distribution centre in Toronto and then expand to other high-density locations, the British company said.

Ocado, which has helped drive online shopping in Britain, one of the world's most advanced e-commerce markets, has been to trying to sell its proprietary technology to international supermarkets in recent years, with new deals seen as key to the company's valuation.

Ocado's shares jumped 12 per cent in early trading on Monday, building on gains it recorded in November when it announced a deal with French supermarket Group Casino.

"Channel shift to online in North America is gaining pace as consumers increasingly seek the benefits of grocery shopping from the comforts of their own homes, and as retailers attempt to offer services to meet this growing customer trend," said Luke Jensen, CEO of Ocado Solutions.

Why Sobeys didn't engage InstaCart, which was researched and developed at the University of Waterloo, is a question only Sobers' executives can answer. Maybe faraway pastures look greener, just as Sobeys' views about Safeway's supermarkets across Western Canada looked so good from their perspective in Nova Scotia.

And we all know now what a disaster that investment has proven to be. 

Instacart, founded by Apoorva Mehta while he was at Waterloo, is an online shopping service for groceries. Based in San Francisco, it secured funding of more than $1 billion.