Ocado and supermarket giant sign deal to develop smart platform

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U.K. online grocer Ocado and French supermarket giant Groupe Casino have signed an agreement to develop the Ocado Smart Platform (OSP) in France.

Ocado describes the OSP as a "proprietary solution for operating online retail businesses." In an announcement Tuesday morning, the companies said that the scalable and modular end-to-end solution provided by the OSP offered a "unique answer to the opportunities and challenges posed by shifting offline/online trends in grocery."

Shares of Ocado spiked on the news, rising more than 26 percent as the session opened Tuesday.

The businesses said that the agreement set out plans for the "immediate initiation" of the development of a customer fulfilment center that would use Ocado's proprietary mechanical handling equipment.

The warehouse will serve the Paris area as well as the Normandie and Hauts de France regions. The build and launch of the fulfilment center is expected to last "at least" two years.

Jean-Charles Naouri, Groupe Casino's CEO, said the agreement represented a "major leap in terms of quality: 50,000 food items will be offered in the first stage to customers in the Greater Paris area with precise and speedy delivery at home and through a platform which makes it achievable to do this profitably."

Ocado CEO Tim Steiner said the business would continue to make investments to commercialize its proprietary platform and expected the Casino Groupe deal "to be one of many successful collaborations with leading retailers to use it the world over."

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