Coronavirus

How Ocado went from understated British grocer to an $18.4 billion tech giant, as the coronavirus pandemic confirms the future of grocery shopping is online

"Bots" are seen on the grid (or "The Hive") of Ocado's "smart platform" in Andover, Britain, on May 1, 2018.
“Bots” are seen on the grid (or “The Hive”) of Ocado’s “smart platform” in Andover, Britain, on May 1, 2018.

REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

  • As grocery stores worldwide experienced stockpiling, long lines, and health worries amid the coronavirus pandemic, millions of people turned to shopping online.

  • It has been a goldrush for the British company Ocado, an online-only grocery marketplace that also operates technology for supermarket giants worldwide.

  • Ocado was the best performing stock on the FTSE 100 in the second quarter of 2020, and, in May, Ocado raised over $1 billion to grow its services.

  • It is now betting big on its US expansion, hoping to convert Americans to grocery shopping online.

  • Huge challenges remain, though. Many Americans are still reluctant to buy food they can’t see in person, and some fear the current online pandemic-driven boom could prove a one-off.

  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The coronavirus

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African solutions to the coronavirus crisis

The African continent hasn’t been as badly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic as other countries in the world so far, but new cases are on the rise and governments have introduced social distancing measures.

And while the pandemic is bad for business, some African entrepreneurs have stepped up to be part of the solution and are seeing new opportunities.

Frequent and thorough washing of hands with soap and warm water is one of the most effective ways of preventing the spread of infectious diseases.

But according to Water Aid, four in 10 people around the world have no access to basic hand washing facilities.

One of the ways in which the coronavirus is spread is via contaminated surfaces. Getting into the habit of regular hand washing can prevent infections, but the virus can still spread as people tend to touch the tap and other things around them.

In a city

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How Adversely Will Coronavirus Impact Western Union (WU) Business?

The Western Union Co. WU is likely to remain affected by the recent COVID-19-led business losses. The company being the biggest player in the remittance market is anticipating a revenue erosion as the remittance market expanse is expected to shrink.
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At the end of April 2020, the World Bank issued a forecast projecting a 20% decline for current-year global remittances. This cutback in remittance is likely to weigh on the company’s revenues from the Consumer to Consumer (C2C) segment. The latest forecast for 2020 global remittances varies from a decrease of 3.5% to 20%.

This shrinkage in the global remittance market will put pressure on revenues from the company’s C2C , which accounts for 85% of the company’s revenues. In the first quarter of 2020, revenues from the segment dipped 3% year over year.

Though Western Union is ramping up its digital remittance platform, it reflects nearly 15% of

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