Ocado founder Jason Gissing said that the online retailer’s relationship with the John Lewis Partnership is as strong as ever, despite John Lewis reducing its share of the company from 40% to 33.4%.
The move followed the early repayment of a loan of £17.5m made by the John Lewis Partnership to Ocado three years ago to fund its early growth. It was not due to be repaid until 2007.
Gissing explained that the move allowed Ocado to source more capital from elsewhere but its relationship with Waitrose, whose food it sells, and with suppliers and customers would remain unchanged. “We have a very strong relationship with John Lewis, even though we are independent from it,” he said.
Gissing added that the ability to pay the money back early was a strong testament to Ocado’s success even though it is yet to make a profit.
“This shows the tremendous backing that we have from our investors and must mean that they believe we are getting it right,” he added.
Ocado is expected to break even next year.