business news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that Ocado, Britain’s largest online-only grocer, "blamed intense competition for 'sustained and continuing margin pressure' in a trading update Tuesday." The interesting thing is that "Ocado processed 19% more orders a week for the quarter through 7 August than in the prior year - its fastest growth in more than half a decade." The real problem for Ocado, the story says, "is the price war facing all U.K. grocers. The German grocers Aldi and Lidl, which don’t have online operations, continue to roll out stores with market-beating prices." Their efforts have roiled the marketplace, creating major competitive issues for companies like Tesco and Walmart-owned Asda ... and apparently they're also having an impact on Ocado.

The irony is that this is the precise moment that Amazon has chosen to debut Amazon Fresh in the UK.

There's an added complication - "the pound’s Brexit-related plunge this year. The cost of imported food for retailers rose 12.7% in the year through August, according to official statistics released Tuesday. This is also creating the margin squeeze to which Ocado sees no imminent end."
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