UK online grocer Ocado raising cash after bumper lockdown

LONDON (AP) — British online grocer Ocado said Wednesday that it is planning to raise more than 1 billion pounds ($1.3 billion) after a surge in sales during the coronavirus lockdown.

Ocado said around 657 million pounds will come via a placing of stock and that it is looking to secure a further 350 million from a bond issue.

The company, which has enjoyed bumper sales since the U.K.’s lockdown was put in place on March 23, said the fundraiser will give it “flexibility to move at increased pace” and capitalize on opportunities in the medium-term.

While supermarkets were among the shops deemed essential and allowed to remain open during the lockdown, many people opted to get their groceries online. Ocado reckons that customers will continue to do so even as the lockdown restrictions are eased further

“The current crisis is proving a catalyst for permanent and significant acceleration in channel shift globally, which we believe will redraw the landscape for the grocery industry worldwide,” Ocado CEO and founder Tim Steiner said.

“The significant acceleration in online grocery provides us with greater opportunities than ever before,” he added.

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