Japan’s largest shopping mall developer and supermarket operator, Aeon Co. Ltd., has partnered with the UK-based online supermarket and technology firm Ocado Group Plc. A 29 November story in the Financial Times said the move was made to compete with rivals Amazon Fresh and the online grocery delivery service collaboration between Rakuten, Inc. and Seiyu GK, the Japanese subsidiary of US retailer Walmart Inc.
Ocado will build warehouses in the Kanto region and Aeon will utilise the firm’s automation and distribution technology. Aeon launched an online grocery service in 2008, but sales account for just 1% of its £78bn annual revenue. Japan’s online grocery market is worth £26.7bn, and that is expected to rise as society ages. The partners aim to develop capacity for ¥200bn (£1.35bn) in deliveries by 2023 and ¥1tn (£6.75bn) by 2035. The announcement boosted Ocado’s stock by 15%.