Robot-Operated Grocery Ocado is Investing now for Future Profits later


Photo by: CC0 Creative Commons via Pixabay


British online supermarket Ocado has just posted £500,000 losses on sales for 2017, largely because of its aim to be a technology provider. That was a move that flogged its robot-operated warehouses.

The online grocer spent  £42.8m on technology in 2017, which is £34.3m  more than its 2016 spending. The increase of technology spending includes a cost to create its own proprietary software that led to further spending on software and hardware. As of today, the company employs about 1,100 techies.

Ocado has also tapped its shareholders for £150m to continue to fine-tune its expensive technology that backs their high-tech warehouses being run by robots. However, Ocado’s chief executive Tim Steiner said, “We are investing for future profit at the expense of current profits.” He adds that they are now in active discussions with various multiple retailers and a prospect to land more deals.

Steiner shares that the last 12 months have been transformational for the company and he even bragged to be the first grocer in the UK to create services activated by Alexa voice.

In November, the company has also signed a deal to create a robotic warehouse for the French retail company Groupe Casino. Steiner considers that the new agreements will build Ocado’s financial flexibility so that they can continue to take advantage of their opportunities.