Britain's Ocado said U.S. retailer Kroger had agreed an exclusive deal to use its technology for grocery deliveries, securing the online supermarket pioneer's entry into the world's biggest market and sending its shares up 50 per cent.
The partnership agreement, under which Kroger will take a 5 per cent stake in the British company and pay monthly fees, pushed Ocado shares up 47 per cent in early trading to 810p.
Tim Steiner, Ocado's CEO, used the announcement to underline his belief "Ocado's unique, proprietary and industry-leading technology is set to transform the shopping experience of consumers around the world".
The agreement, Kroger's response to Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods, takes Ocado's home-delivery platform into the U.S. for the first time and marks the fourth major deal it has signed with supermarkets in six months. It started distributing groceries for Waitrose and floated in 2010.
Shares in Ocado (OCDO) rocket 43% higher to 787.9p following the announcement of a tasty partnership with United States grocer Kroger, giving the online grocer-to-e-commerce tech licensor a foothold in the vast groceries market across the pond.
The threat of a big disruptor entering the sector has put pressure on food retailers to be on top of their game when it comes to online deliveries, and that's playing into the hands of Ocado, with a number of deals in the pipeline now coming to fruition.
Ocado had kept investors waiting for years after setting out a strategy to grow faster by providing its technology to other supermarket chains overseas as well as being an online retailer in its own right.
According to a press release issued by Ocado, it is already working with Kroger to identify three sites in the USA for new, automated warehouse facilities.
"We are actively creating a seamless digital experience for our customers".
Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chief executive, said the partnership would the grocer "redefine the food and grocery customer experience - creating value for customers and shareholders alike".
Tatton-Brown said the detailed financial terms still had to be agreed, but the deal was expected to be neutral in respect to earnings in the full-year 2018.