NEW YORK CITY — Ocado is a United Kingdom-based grocery store that doesn’t have any physical outlets. But it does have warehouses with robots that can pack up an order of 50 items in just a few minutes. In the third quarter of 2018, Ocado’s revenue growth beat all but three other retailers and racked up 283,000 orders per week in the UK.
In May, Ocado signed a deal with Kroger, the largest supermarket in the United States, to build at least 20 robot-powered grocery warehouses. That partnership gets Ocado into the US market and launches Kroger into the logistics side of the online grocery wars, where it’s competing against Walmart and Amazon.
While it’s quickly growing, online grocery hasn’t quite taken off in the US compared to the UK. Fewer than 2% of Americans buy groceries online, compared to 7.5% in the UK.