Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg
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Ocado Apologizes to Short Seller It Mistook for Angry Customer

Short-sellers have long been a weight on Ocado Group Plc’s share price, but that’s possibly gone unnoticed by the online grocer’s customer-service desk.

A trader tweeting that he was shorting the shares received an apology from Ocado, which mistook him for a customer complaining about a missing delivery.

“Shorted @ocado and @boohoo again today ... both overvalued,” Twitter user Mark Howitt wrote Wednesday, referring to the online grocer as well as fashion retailer boohoo.com Plc.

“Oh no! We’re sorry to hear this Mark,” Ocado said in response, while requesting that he provide them with his postcode and e-mail address for further investigation.

Realizing its error, Ocado went on to explain that it uses the term “shorted” to refer to missing grocery items, rather than a bet that a share price will decline as is customary in the financial world.

Ocado shares jumped 7.8 percent Wednesday as some short sellers scrambled to close positions. The stock has soared 65 percent since Ocado announced a landmark technology licensing deal with French supermarket operator Casino Guichard-Perrachon SA, its first major client outside the U.K.

— With assistance by Sam Chambers, and Chris Kingdon

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