How Egypt Is Keeping This 200-Year-Old Tile Tradition Alive

Source: Still Standing

Saied Hussain has been hand making tiles out of cement for over 50 years. He says he’s one of the last still doing this work in Egypt — most other workshops couldn't withstand competition from marble and ceramic tiles. We went to Cairo to see how his business is still standing. Saied does not have a website. He sells his tiles locally in Cairo.

The Billion Dollar Pool Supply Industry Cashing in on Summer

Source: CNBC

Over the last several decades, a growing number of Americans have chosen to spend more time and money on swimming pools. Most pools can be found in California, Texas and Florida, but population growth in other Southern states is escalating the demand for pool construction and supplies. Pool Corporation, one of the largest pool supply distributers, has seen its stock price soar. Already in 2021, people are opening up their pools 20-30% earlier in the year than they did in 2020, which means they will need more chemicals and supplies to keep their pools swimmable. For now, demand is pretty strong.

GSK plans to create up to 5,000 jobs in new UK hub

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 16th July 2021) London, Uk – –

Drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is set to create up to 5,000 new jobs as part of a plan to build one of the largest life sciences sites in Europe.

The company is looking to extend its facility in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, where it currently conducts research and development.

GSK says the plan could create thousands of highly skilled jobs in the next five to 10 years.

It aims to raise £400m by selling off a third of the current 92-acre site.

Stevenage is already one of GSK's two global hubs, and hosts the UK's largest work into cell and gene therapy.

The development of the new site is expected to begin in 2022. The new campus – which will sit next to GSK's existing site at Stevenage – could ultimately deliver 100,000 square metres of new floor space for commercial life sciences research and development.

“The past 18 months has shown the UK life sciences sector at its best and the UK has recently unveiled an ambitious 10-year vision for the UK life sciences sector,” said GSK senior vice president Tony Wood.

“Our goal is for Stevenage to emerge as a top destination for medical and scientific research by the end of the decade,” he added.

GSK has come under pressure recently from shareholders to reconfigure its businesses amid criticism over its performance.

The company is a leading vaccine maker, but has been late to develop one for Covid-19. Its Covid vaccine, which is being developed with France's Sanofi, is still undergoing trials.

GSK boss Emma Walmsley is selling the company's consumer healthcare division, which makes big-brand products including Sensodyne and Panadol.

That move is designed to let it focus on developing new drugs and vaccines.

Inside Tyrese Gibson’s Atlanta Dream Mansion

Source: AD

Today AD is welcomed to Atlanta, Georgia by actor and musician Tyrese Gibson for a tour of his six-story dream mansion. Despite its grandeur, the 25,000 square foot French Chateau-style mansion radiates an inviting warmth – an effect Tyrese created with intention. “I wanted guests to feel the regal energy, the regal vibe,” says the man behind the character Roman Pearce from The Fast and the Furious. “But it’s very livable. No one comes into my house and, I’m like, I’m sorry, you can’t sit here.”

15 Things You Didn’t Know About NIGERIA

Source: Alux

This Alux video we will be answering the following questions:

What are five interesting facts about Nigeria? What is a interesting fact about Nigeria? What is Nigeria known for? How old is the country Nigeria? What is Nigeria famous food? Is Nigeria a beautiful country? What are the three major culture in Nigeria? What are some Nigerian traditions? What are the important of culture in Nigeria? What are the cultural values in Nigeria? What is the main culture in Nigeria? What is Nigeria best known for? What are the 4 types of culture? Which culture is the best in Nigeria? What are the 3 types of culture? What are some examples of Igbo customs and traditions? What is family life like in Nigeria? What is unique about Nigeria? What are the values of Nigeria? What are the three important of culture? How dangerous is Nigeria? What language is mostly spoken in Nigeria? Why is Nigeria important to the world? Why is Nigeria called Nigeria? What makes you a Nigerian? What is Nigeria known for producing? What animals live in Nigeria? Which country is the super power in Africa? What is Nigeria most famous for? What is special about Nigeria? Why is Nigeria the most important country in Africa? What is the poorest country in Africa? What is the weakest country in Africa? Is Nigeria a beautiful country? Is Nigeria a safe country? Is Nigeria still the giant of Africa? Why is Nigeria the giant of Africa? What is Nigeria called in the world? What was Nigeria called before Nigeria? Is Nigeria a future superpower? Is Nigeria military powerful? Is Nigeria a first world country?

Canada Goose pledge to stop using fur in its products by end of 2022

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Fri, 25th June 2021) London, Uk – –

The Canadian company has previously been criticised by animal rights groups for using Coyote fur as a trim on its premium jackets.

High-end coat company Canada Goose has pledged to stop using fur in its products by the end of next year.

The Canadian fashion brand, known for its $1,000 (£718) parkers, said it would stop buying the material by the end of this year and cease manufacturing with it by the end of 2022.

The environmentally conscious decision follows years of backlash over the brand's use of animal fur.

Canada Goose has long been criticised by animal welfare groups like the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) as its winter parkas have their hoods lined with coyote fur.

PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said: “After years of eye-catching protests, hard-hitting exposés, celebrity actions, and legal battles, as the company has finally conceded and will stop using fur – sparing sensitive, intelligent, coyotes from being caught and killed in barbaric steel traps.”

Humane Society International said the decision was a “momentous step in the demise of cruel fur fashion”.

Claire Bass, executive director of the Humane Society, added: “For years, Canada Goose's trademark parka jackets with coyote fur trim have been synonymous with fur cruelty but their announcement today is another major blow to the global fur trade.”

Canada Goose's president and CEO, Dani Reiss, said the decision to stop using fur was linked to the company wanting to become more sustainable.

He told the New York Times: “Our focus has always been on making products that deliver exceptional quality, protection from the elements, and perform the way consumers need them to.

“This decision transforms how we will continue to do just that. We are accelerating the sustainable evolution of our designs.”

The company has also attracted criticism over its use of goose down to pad and line the inside of its jackets.

PETA alleges the down industry use painful methods to kill geese for their feathers, however Canada Goose's website says the company use responsibly sourced down from the poultry industry.

The charity said they will continue to put pressure on Canada Goose to stop using the product.

Other large companies have made similar moves to attract increasingly eco-conscious shoppers.

Versace, Michael Kors and Gucci have recently decided to go fur-free, while apparel makers Nike and Gap are looking to make their products more sustainable.

15 Of The HIGHEST PAYING Gig Economy JOBS

Source: Alux

This Alux video we will be answering the following questions: Which gig economy job pays the most? What driving gig pays the best? Which gig app pays the most? How much can a gig worker make? Why is it called a gig economy? What side job makes the most money? How can a gig worker show proof of income? How do you get a gig to work? What qualifies as a gig worker? What is a gig economy job? How can I make $1000 fast? What apps pay same day? What apps pay you instantly? What is the difference between a gig worker and an independent contractor? Is Airbnb a gig economy? How much money is in the gig economy? Is gig work good or bad? Do gig workers pay taxes? Is Uber a gig economy? Is Uber a gig worker? How do I make an extra $1000 a month? How can I make an extra $500 a month? How can I make $500 a month from home? Do gig workers still get unemployment? Are gig workers considered self employed? How much do gig workers get for unemployment? Where can I post a gig? Is the gig economy a good thing? What is an example of a gig worker?

Vodafone accelerate investment in its network to capture growth opportunity

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Tue, 18th May 2021) London, UK —

Mobile and broadband operator Vodafone (VOD.L) said it would accelerate investment in its network again this year after spending more to meet the demands of COVID-19, resulting in free cash flow growth falling short of market expectations.

The British company said free cash flow would increase to at least 5.2 billion euros this year, after it just met its target of “at least” 5 billion euros in the year to end-March. Analysts had expected on average an increase to 5.4 billion euros.

“The world has changed because of the pandemic,” Chief Executive Nick Read told reporters on Tuesday.

“We see a compelling opportunity for high growth given the step change we've seen towards a digital society over the past year. Importantly, this growth opportunity exists in both Europe and Africa.”

He said COVID-19 had advanced digitalisation by about five years, and higher network usage would be permanent.

Shares in Vodafone, which have risen by 13% in the last 12 months underpinned by a dividend yield of around 6%, fell 7% as investors fretted over the investment.

Analysts at Citi, who rate Vodafone a “buy”, said capex levels and other outflows were hindering growth in free cash flow.

Vodafone reported a 1.2% drop in adjusted earnings to 14.4 billion euros for the year to end-March, short of market expectations, on 2.6% lower revenue of 43.8 billion euros after COVID-19 hit roaming and handset sales.

Read, however, said Vodafone exited the year with accelerating service revenue growth across its business, with a particularly good performance in its largest market, Germany.

“The increased demand for our services supports our ambition to grow revenues and cash flow over the medium-term,” he said.

He has focused Vodafone on Europe and Africa and spun off its mobile towers infrastructure into a separate business that it listed in Frankfurt in March.

Vodafone said it expected EBITDA for the current year to rise to 15.0 – 15.4 billion euros.

By Paul Sandle

Amazon US tech giant set to hire 10,000 UK workers

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 14th May 2021) London, Uk – –

US tech giant Amazon is to go on a hiring spree in the UK as online shopping continues to boom in the pandemic.

Amazon is to hire 10,000 UK employees as it opens more warehouses in the north and south of England.

It is also creating a number of corporate roles in Cambridge, Edinburgh, London and Manchester.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the move was “a huge vote of confidence in the British economy”.

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated a trend towards online shopping, and tech giants such as Amazon have reaped the benefits.

Now the firm, which has previously denied allegations of poor working conditions, is further entrenching its position in the UK.

The addition of 10,000 new roles, including thousands in its warehouses, will take its UK workforce to more than 55,000 by the end of the year.

Amazon said pay for operations roles was £9.70 per hour, or £10.80 in London, with other benefits.

Its profits tripled in the first three months of the year to $8.1bn (£5.76bn), up from $2.5bn a year ago.

The online retail giant will open new “fulfilment” warehouses in Dartford, Gateshead, Hinckley and Swindon, and a “parcel receive” warehouse in Doncaster.

It will recruit in its offices for roles in fashion, digital marketing, engineering, video production, software development, cloud computing, AI and machine learning.

The company will also be recruiting for its Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud computing business and its operations network.

Mr Kwarteng said Amazon was making a “prime investment in our retail sector”, which will “open up a wide range of opportunities for even more workers”.

Amazon will also invest £10m over three years into a scheme to train 5,000 employees in subjects including accountancy, HGV driving and software development, in a bid to give them transferable skills.

Amazon will pay 95% of tuition and associated fees for adult education courses, up to £8,000 over four years.

Local chambers of commerce will work with Amazon to identify regional skills shortages.

Shevaun Haviland, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Providing staff with training to plug the skills gaps that exist within the local business community is going to be a key driver to increasing productivity and boosting the economy as the UK recovers from the pandemic.”

Amazon's UK Country Manager John Boumphrey said: “We're proud of the front-line roles we offer across Amazon, and we also know that they will be a stepping stone for some in their career journey.”

BT to create 7,000 UK jobs in rollout of next-generation, broadband network to 25m homes

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Thur, 13th May 2021) London, Uk – –

Roles will mainly be in engineering at Openreach subsidiary that builds and runs broadband network

BT is to create up to 7,000 jobs as it ups the pace of the multibillion-pound rollout of a national next-generation, broadband network to 25m UK premises by 2026.

The telecoms company, which reported a 23% drop in pre-tax profits to £1.8bn last year as businesses used less of its services during pandemic lockdowns, had previously targeted rolling out full-fibre broadband to 20m premises. It said it would consider a joint-venture partnership to fund the rollout to the extra 5m homes, which will cost about £3bn.

BT has already pledged £12bn to tackle the UK’s status as a global laggard in full-fibre broadband, and fulfil Boris Johnson’s election promise of getting next-generation broadband speeds to all homes in the UK.

“BT is already building more full-fibre broadband to homes and businesses than anyone else in the UK,” said Philip Jansen, the chief executive of BT. “It will get fibre to more people, including in rural communities. And it will help fuel UK economic recovery, with better connectivity and up to 7,000 new jobs.”

The jobs, which will mostly be engineering roles at its Openreach subsidiary that builds and runs the UK’s broadband network, comes as BT presses on with a restructuring of its business to reduce staff numbers ultimately by 13,000.

Jansen said the company is to cut 16% of its office space as a result of changes in working practices post-pandemic. Pre-pandemic the company had begun a downsizing to close 270 of 300 sites across the UK, to be completed by 2023. It will still keep the 30 remaining sites, but reduce the space required at each.

“We expect things to change quite dramatically to more hybrid, smart working,” he said. “We haven’t got a specific formula for the whole company because how it works depends on a whole host of things. But the key word is flexibility.”

BT is not able to institute a blanket flexible working policy, as many firms have, as its 100,000 staff work across such a variety of roles. About 35,000 work At Openreach, most as engineers who work in the field, while overall the company has about 50,000 staff who are regularly office-based or in its retail store network.

The company also disclosed that its triennial pension valuation has assessed the company’s pension deficit at just under £8bn, as at June last year, about £1.5bn less than its last valuation. BT has agreed a long-term payment plan with its pension trustees.

“This agreement keeps us on track for zero funding deficit by 2030,” said Simon Lowth, BT’s finance chief.

BT also confirmed that it is to reinstate its dividend, which was halted for two years at the start of the pandemic, at 7.7p for its 2021-22 financial year.

The company has also called a temporary truce with the Communication Workers Union (CWU), which had been threatening to ballot for strike action over the impact of the restructuring plans.

“BT has agreed to suspend any actions that could result in potential team member redundancies while these important topics are worked through,” the company said.

UK’s Morrisons look to sport events to boost sales this summer

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Tue, 11th May 2021) London, UK —

British supermarket group Morrisons (MRW.L) expects the relaxation of pandemic restrictions on socialising and major sporting events, including soccer's Euro 2020 and the Olympics, will drive another boost to sales this summer.

Chief Executive David Potts said Britons' rising optimism over much reduced COVID-19 cases, the success of the vaccination programme in the UK and an improving economy would encourage them to socialise and celebrate.

“That sense of optimism is percolating through the country and it will lead to people wanting to celebrate events,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

“We'll be doing everything we can to be part of that,” he said, pointing to a potential boost to trade from families getting together in bigger groups, and high demand for barbecue food, pizzas and beer.

Morrisons reported a slowdown in quarterly sales growth as it compared with exceptionally busy trade a year earlier when Britain's first COVID-19 lockdown prompted panicked shoppers to send sales soaring.

The group, which trails market leader Tesco (TSCO.L), Sainsbury's (SBRY.L) and Asda in annual revenue, said like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, rose 2.7% in the 14 weeks to May 9, its fiscal first quarter – ahead of analysts' average forecast of up 1.6% but down from growth of 9.0% in the previous quarter.

Retail sales rose 1.6%, wholesale sales were up 1.1% and online sales more than doubled, partly driven by a partnership with Amazon (AMZN.O).

Comparing the period with 2019, before the pandemic started to disrupt trading last year, group like-for-like sales rose 8.7%.

Shares in Morrisons were up 0.7% at 0811 GMT.

“The pandemic is not yet over, but it is in retreat across Britain and there is much to be positive about as something approaching normal life begins to take shape,” said Potts.

He noted that Morrisons' petrol forecourts were getting busier, and it was seeing encouraging recent signs of a strong rebound of food-to-go, take-away counters and salad bars. Its cafés will fully reopen on Monday when Britain is due to ease restrictions on indoor hospitality.

The group maintained its forecast for 2021/22 profit before tax and exceptionals including business rates paid to be higher than the 431 million pounds profit achieved in 2020/21, excluding the waived rates relief.

It also said it would reduce debt and forecast another year of “meaningful profit growth” in 2022/23.

Morrisons said it would refresh its long-term capital allocation plans when it reports interim results in September.

By James Davey

Bank of England forecasts biggest economic bounce-back since WWII

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com–Fri, 7th May 2021) London, Uk – –

The Bank signals it is not too concerned about a spike in inflation ahead and its COVID crisis support will be maintained.

The Bank of England has upgraded its growth forecast for the coronavirus-hit UK economy and signalled it will not raise interest rates in the near term – despite seeing a looming spike in inflation ahead.

The latest meeting of the central bank's interest rate-setting committee left policy unchanged, with rates remaining at their COVID-19 crisis low of 0.1% as analysts had widely expected.

Its £895bn programme of asset purchases, known as quantitative easing, was also kept static.

But its quarterly Monetary Policy Report said that the vaccine-led recovery from the sharpest hit to the economy in over 300 years in 2020 was clearly under way at a greater speed than initially expected.

The Bank said it now saw growth of 7.25% during 2021, which would be the strongest since 1941.

That is up from the 5% growth previously forecast.

The Bank now sees GDP falling by just 1.5% in the lockdown-hit first quarter compared to the plunge of over 4% feared in February.

The report said: “GDP (gross domestic product) is expected to rise sharply in 2021 second quarter, although activity in that quarter is likely to remain on average around 5% below its level in the fourth quarter of 2019.

The Bank forecast that consumer spending would be a main driver of the recovery – with people spending an estimated 10% of their accumulated lockdown savings.

But it warned of potential “downside risks” to its outlook from new coronavirus variants – and governor Andrew Bailey told a news conference people should not get “carried away” by the recovery.

He spoke of two years of lost output growth, and added: “On balance, the MPC (monetary policy committee) judges the risks to the central projection for GDP to be skewed to the downside in the first year of the forecast period, but broadly balanced further out.”

Mr Bailey also said it was too early to judge what impact Brexit had delivered.

The Bank's predictions for an acceleration in growth were backed up by a closely-watched survey of firms, released earlier on Thursday, which pointed to the largest leap in business activity since 2013 in April for the services sector.

The IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) recorded a reading of 61 – up from 56.3 in March – with any reading above 50 indicating growth.

It noted “sharp increases” in both business and consumer spending as coronavirus restrictions continued to ease.

The latest series of PMI reports have also highlighted spikes in prices for companies through higher transport and raw material costs.

The services PMI reported the steepest rise in costs for businesses in over four years and widespread evidence those are being passed on down the supply chain.

Mr Bailey said there was little evidence yet of a feed through to output prices, but in its report the Bank said it expected the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) measure of inflation to shoot up beyond its 2% target by the end of the year from its current level of 0.7%.

It highlighted a surge in energy prices as a primary cause, but added that it was not unduly concerned about the outlook, with CPI tipped to fall back to target quickly, and suggested rates would remain at current levels in support of the recovery.

That message mirrors commentary from other central banks, including the US Federal Reserve, which has signalled it is prepared to tolerate surging inflation by maintaining support they have provided for their economies to help employment recover.

By James Sillars

UK and India announced $1.4 billion of private-sector investment

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Tue, 4th May 2021) London, UK —

Britain and India announced 1 billion pounds ($1.39 billion) of private-sector investment and committed to seek a free trade deal ahead of a virtual meeting between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Indian leader Narendra Modi on Tuesday.

The meeting replaces an in-person visit Johnson had planned to make last month to deepen cooperation as Britain seeks new trading partners after leaving the European Union. That visit was cancelled due to surging COVID-19 cases in India.

“Like every aspect of the UK-India relationship, the economic links between our countries make our people stronger and safer,” Johnson said in a statement.

The British government set out 533 million pounds of Indian investment into Britain, including 240 million by the Serum Institute for its vaccines and sales business, and 446 million pounds of export deals for British businesses.

Some of the investments listed had already been made public.

British estimates combined with data from the firms involved, showed the deals would create more than 6,500 jobs in Britain.

The two countries will also finalise an ‘Enhanced Trade Partnership' that will lift export barriers on goods ranging from British apples to medical devices, and took steps to open up India's legal services sector to UK firms.

The partnership deal is seen as a step towards a full free-trade agreement that Britain hopes will by 2030 double bilateral trade from its current level of around 23 billion pounds per year.

“In the decade ahead, with the help of new Partnership signed today and a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, we will double the value of our trading partnership with India and take the relationship between our two countries to new highs,” Johnson said.

($1 = 0.7201 pounds)

10 Biggest Misconceptions About Bitcoin

Source: Alux

How The Right 5-10 Cryptocurrency Coins
Could Make You A Fortune
https://www.qlmbusinessnews.com/ohy1

This Alux.com video we will be answering the following questions: Is Bitcoin anonymous? Is Bitcoin used for criminal activity? Do You need to buy a full bitcoin? Are Bitcoin and Blockchain the same? Can Bitcoin be hacked? Is Bitcoin a pyramid scheme? Is Bitcoin complicated and do you need to know code? Is Bitcoin regulated? Is Bitcoin illegal? What is so special about Bitcoin? Is Bitcoin a good investment? How do Bitcoins work? Who owns most bitcoin? Does Amazon accept Bitcoin? How many Bitcoins are left? How long does it take to mine 1 Bitcoin? How many Bitcoin should you own? What are some facts about bitcoin? What does Bitcoin actually do? Are Bitcoins dangerous? Does businesses accept Bitcoin payments? What happens if I invest $100 into Bitcoin? Is Bitcoin is anonymous?

The New York City Professional Matchmaker scouting the crowds for that special someone for her clients

Source: Make it

When Alisa Purifico rides the New York City subway, she’s not glued to her phone trying to avoid eye contact with other passengers. Instead, she’s scouting the crowd for that special someone. When a cute guy or gal catches her eye, she approaches to ask if they’re single, sometimes opening the conversation by asking for directions or complimenting an outfit choice. Purifico is married, but she’s scouring Manhattan for mates for her clients at matchmaking company Three Day Rule, who’ve turned to a professional service to find the love online dating didn’t yield. She’s one of about 40 matchmakers at the company, which has a presence in 10 major U.S. cities.

20 Jobs You Never Knew Existed

Source: Insider

From people who harvest giant blocks of marble to master Lego builders to people who can make babies cry in movies, there are a lot of fascinating and unexpected jobs out there. But just because you haven't heard of them, that doesn't mean you haven't seen their work on the big screen, on your plate, or in your blankets. Check out these 20 jobs you probably never knew existed.

How Maserati The Luxury Italian And Sports Car Brand Is Staging A Comeback

Source: CNBC

Maserati is an Italian luxury and sports car brand that doesn’t have the recognition that big names like BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, or even Ferrari have. For decades it was owned by Fiat Group, which later became Fiat Chrysler. Maserati gave it a presence in premium and luxury segments. But they've struggled in recent years, with falling sales and concerns among analysts that Fiat Chrysler did not make needed investments to update Maserati’s product lineup. Now that Fiat-Chrysler has merged with France’s Groupe PSA to form Stellantis, there is speculation over which brands in the stable will survive and succeed.

A New Billionaire Every 17 Hours: The Most Notable Newcomers On Forbes’ Billionaires List

Source: Forbes

It’s been a year like no other, and we aren’t talking about the pandemic. There were rapid-fire public offerings, surging cryptocurrencies and skyrocketing stock prices. The number of billionaires on Forbes’ 35th annual list of the world’s wealthiest exploded to an unprecedented 2,755–660 more than a year ago. Of those, a record high 493 were new to the list–roughly one every 17 hours, including 210 from China and Hong Kong. Another 250 who’d fallen off in the past came roaring back. A staggering 86% are richer than a year ago.

Jeff Bezos is the world’s richest for the fourth year running, worth $177 billion, while Elon Musk rocketed into the number two spot with $151 billion, as Tesla and Amazon shares surged. Altogether these billionaires are worth $13.1 trillion, up from $8 trillion in 2020. The U.S. still has the most, with 724, followed by China (including Hong Kong and Macao) with 698. We used stock prices and exchange rates from March 5 to calculate net worths. See below for the full list of the world’s billionaires and our methodology.

Ocado partners with Oxbotica in a £10m deal to make autonomous grocery delivery vehicles

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Fri, 16th Apr 2021) London, Uk – –

Online grocer strikes commercial partnership with Oxford-based self-driving vehicles company

Ocado has invested £10m in a self-driving vehicles company to drive its ambition to make autonomous grocery deliveries and develop “kerb-to-kitchen robots” to drop off shopping in homes.

The online grocer, which has previously tested a prototype self-driving truck delivering food and snacks to customers in south-east London, has moved to strike a commercial partnership with Oxford-based Oxbotica, which developed the truck.

Ocado, which will take a seat on Oxbotica’s board, said the technology could be used for “last-mile deliveries and kerb-to-kitchen robots”. The trials in Greenwich, London, in 2017 used a small “CargoPod” that holds eight boxes and required customers to leave their houses to pick up their shopping.

Ocado said the driverless vehicles could also operate inside its fulfilment centre buildings and the yards around them.Advertisement

“We are excited about the opportunity to work with Oxbotica to develop a wide range of autonomous solutions,” said Alex Harvey, the chief of advanced technology at Ocado. “These solutions truly have the potential to transform both our and our partners’ customer fulfilment centres and service delivery operations while also giving all end customers the widest range of options and flexibility.”

Ocado said there were potentially huge savings to be made by introducing autonomous technology to its operation. The moving of orders within its fulfilment centres costs 1.5% of UK sales and the cost of “final-mile delivery” is about 10% of sales. Labour represents about half of these costs.

Owing to regulatory and complexity reasons, Ocado said the development of vehicles that operate in low-speed urban areas or in restricted-access areas, such as its fulfilment buildings and yards, “may become a reality sooner than fully autonomous deliveries to consumers’ homes”.

As part of the collaboration, Ocado said it would outfit some of its delivery vans and warehouse vehicles with data capture capabilities, such as video cameras and radar, to train and test Oxbotica’s technology.

Ocado, which employs almost 19,000 staff, said the vehicle autonomy programme would not change “current hiring or employment levels within logistics or operations groups”.

The grocer took part in a wider funding round by Oxbotica led by BP Ventures and including the Chinese tech firm Tencent.

“This is an excellent opportunity for Oxbotica and Ocado to strengthen our partnership, sharing our vision for the future of autonomy,” said Paul Newman, a co-founder of Oxbotica.

By Mark Sweney