Uber announced today that it is acquiring a majority ownership of Cornershop, an online marketplace for on-demand delivery from supermarkets across Chile, Mexico, Peru and Toronto. The deal is expected to close in 2020, and Cornershop will continue to operate with its current leadership. Cornershop has so far raised $31.7 million in funding.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has said before that grocery delivery is an area he wants the company to get into. Grocery delivery is already a pretty crowded field here in the U.S., with Walmart, Amazon and Target all offering same-day service, not to mention startups like Instacart, DoorDash and Postmates establishing their own services. While online grocery shopping remains a tiny 6 percent of the overall grocery shopping market, in 2019 it grew 15 percent year-over-year. As delivery becomes more widely available, you can expect that number to increase.
Uber has been working to stop hemorrhaging money this year. The company reported losses of $5.2 billion during its third quarter this year and has said that profitability for Uber Eats is still far off. Last month the company merged Uber Eats into its main ridesharing app, and said it wants to become the “operating system for your everyday life.” Groceries are certainly a part of everyday life.
The Cornershop acquisition also shows how Uber is adjusting its global business. The company recently partnered with Japanese convenience store chain Lawson for food delivery, but also pulled Uber Eats out of the South Korean market facing competitive pressures in that country. The addition of Cornershop to its quiver will now obviously bolster its presence across Central and South America.
The deal still needs to close, however. We’ll see if Uber has better luck than Walmart, which tried to acquire Cornershop last year in a deal that fell apart after running into issues with Mexican regulators.