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ocado-van1540 Photos courtesy of Ocado

Ocado execs eye international expansion

U.K. grocery e-commerce king previously linked with Publix

Executives of British grocery e-commerce platform Ocado on Tuesday reiterated ambitions to expand internationally, raising the possibility it could partner with a U.S. supermarket chain.

In a conference call discussing the company’s financial results, Ocado CEO Timothy Steiner told analysts the company was having “multiple discussions on the rollout of Ocado Smart Platform in multiple retailers in multiple territories,” but was careful not to name specific partners nor set a deadline.

Ocado describes itself as the world’s largest dedicated online grocery retailer with more than 500,000 active customers. It also provides grocery ordering and delivery for the Morrisons chain in the U.K. Its Ocado Smart Platform combines its proprietary software and technology systems with integrated fulfillment solutions, allowing grocers to offer efficient and low-risk e-commerce.

Ocado previously said it was seeking to license its technology to an international partner by the end of 2015. Steiner said Tuesday it would avoid setting a new deadline “for us to then trip over.”

Speculation had previously centered on Publix Super Markets, which was named by reports out of U.K. a year ago. Publix is one of the largest U.S. grocers that does not offer proprietary e-commerce services, although it does partner with concierge services like Shipt and Instacart in some markets.

Publix officials reached Tuesday declined comment.

Steiner on Tuesday added that the company had named Luke Jensen as CEO of its Smart Platform services with the goal of “accelerating” the ongoing sales discussions. Jensen is a former executive with U.K. grocer Sainsbury’s.

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