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Ocado, the British online grocery service, will partner with Australian supermarket chain Coles to develop its online grocery business in Australia using the Ocado Smart Platform (OSP).

Coles is one of Australia’s largest retailers, trading from 818 supermarkets, 911 off-licences, and 712 Coles Express petrol stations across the country and generating sales in FY2018 of A$39.4 billion (£22 billion).

Coles is already a market leader in online grocery retailing in Australia through Coles Online, with more than A$1 billion of sales per year.

Adoption of OSP will enable Coles Online to serve customers in Australia’s larger urban areas by fulfilling orders through Ocado’s robotic Customer Fulfilment Centres (CFCs) with customers in less populated areas benefiting from Ocado’s store-pick software.

Coles and Ocado have agreed to operate two CFCs, one in Sydney and one in Melbourne. These facilities are expected to go live within four years. Coles Online will also transition its store-pick based operations to the Ocado Smart Platform and this is expected to take place in parallel with the CFCs going live.

Steven Cain, CEO of Coles Group Ltd, said: “Ocado is singularly focused on online grocery shopping and, as a result, has become the best in the world. We are delighted to be partnering with them to make life easier for Coles’ customers here in Australia. Ocado’s ongoing investment and retail partnerships around the world will help us continue to improve our offer into the future”.

Tim Steiner, CEO of Ocado, said: “Today marks another big moment in the continuing transformation of Ocado. Our unique, proprietary and industry-leading technology is bringing new growth opportunities to retailers around the world and changing the customer experience of grocery shopping. Coles is a grocer with a global reputation for innovation and outstanding commitment to their customers, and I am delighted we will be working together in the years to come to reshape the food retail landscape in Australia.”