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Ocado (OCDO) is reported to have moved closer to agreeing its first international retail partnership after agreeing a deal with US logistics firm Mace.

The Times reported that Ocado has hired Mace to “advise it on how it should it make its American debut”, after the group beat off competition from including Jacobs Engineering Group, Arup, CH2M and Aecom.

The paper also suggests Ocado could be holding talks with Publix Super Markets, which operates in the southwest of the US and has been looking to launch an online grocery business for a number of years.

Ocado is yet to comment on the reports.

Ocado shares have jumped 3.4% to 310.9p in early trading.

Morning update

It’s a quiet start to the week this morning, with little news of note on the markets.

Stevia producer PureCircle has appointed former Britvic CFO John Gibney as a non-executive director and member of its audit committee effective from 11 April. Gibney recently retired from Britvic plc after a 17 year career. Prior to joining Britvic, Gibney spent 10 years with Bass where he held various finance and management roles.

After falls on Thursday and Friday the FTSE 100 index is back up 0.2% to 6,157.9pts this morning.

Ocado apart, grocery firms are not generally amongst the major risers. The biggest movers are Marks & Spencer (MKS), up 1.6% to 413.9p despite worries over the performance of its clothing business, and PureCircle, up 1.5% to 384p.

Fallers include Hilton Food Group (HFG), down 2.1% to 545.6p after its strong results-driven rise towards the end of last week, C&C Group (CCR), down 1% to €3.95 and Applegreen (APGN), down 0.9% to 372.1p.

The week in the City

The major news this week will be Marks & Spencer’s (MKS) fourth quarter sales figures released on Thursday. Analysts are expecting another significant drop in general merchandise sales, though its food division is expected to post another small like for like sales rise.

Elsewhere, Tate & Lyle (TATE) releases a fourth quarter trading statement tomorrow, while in the US Boots owner Walgreens Boots Alliance (WAG) releases its second quarter figures also on Tuesday.

Tomorrow brings the Kantar Worldpanel and Nielsen grocery market share figures for March. The BRC retail sales monitor is out tomorrow and the BRC shop price index on Wednesday, while the PMI data for construction, services and jobs are out this week.

The Grocer Price Index tracking deflation for the month to 1 April will be published on Friday.