When Ocado opened the Erith CFC last May, among the scores of guests checking out the facility was a team from Coles, led by Alister Jordan, chief executive of Coles Online and Coles Express.
Coles was on a two-year global mission to find the best way to make its fast-growing online grocery business profitable.
Coles' online sales grew 30 per cent last year and will crack the $1 billion mark this year, but the business is yet to break even.
After 18 months of negotiations, Coles signed a long-term deal with Ocado this week to use its so-called "smart platform" technology, which gives the supermarket access to the bee-hive fulfilment technology, a new online grocery website and home-delivery solutions, including last-mile routing – getting goods to their final destination.
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