Blog: Petah MarianOcado + Carrefour - the beginning of a beautiful friendship?

Petah Marian | 28 June 2011

The announcement of a tie-up between UK online grocer Ocado and French retail giant Carrefour is one that has been the subject of speculation for almost two years, although, perhaps, the form that the relationship has taken has been somewhat more surprising.

Ocado yesterday (27 June) announced that it would begin trialling Carrefour's 'Reflets de France' range of authentic French produce to all of its customers.

The announcement follows speculation since late 2009 that the two companies were in talks to launch a joint online grocery retail venture in Paris, with Ocado set to provide provide the software to facilitate the delivery of Carrefour products in France.

Yesterday's announcement may also reignite speculation around that partnership, although it seems now, a year and a half down the line, that Carrefour's French online offer is quite advanced, making a deal across the Channel seem unlikely.

However, Carrefour is present in some 34 countries, and if it has found online a challenge in France, this deal may just provide Ocado with the leverage to take Carrefour's offer online in other countries.

The deal is also likely to have other tangential benefits for Ocado, potentially improving the perception among industry watchers of it being too heavily reliant on Waitrose for its private-label offer, even if the move doesn't particularly provide a massive point of differentiation for consumers.

The range will include over 300 SKUs and include products like wines, olives cheeses and other "authentic" French products.

Nonetheless, the announcement also comes at a key time for Ocado. Waitrose, Ocado's long-time partner, is gearing up to compete with the online firm in its key market, the London area, at the end of a non-compete agreement.

Is this deal only the first of further potential deals between Ocado and Carrefour?


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