June 20 (Reuters) -

Ocado the online grocer and technology group, said on Thursday its Canadian supermarket partner Sobeys had paused the opening of a fourth robotic warehouse planned for 2025, a setback for the British firm which sent its shares sharply lower.

Ocado stock was down 12% in early afternoon trading after Sobeys said it would not open a customer fulfilment centre (CFC), as Ocado calls its automated warehouses, in Vancouver.

The British firm said it and Sobeys would now focus on driving order and sales volumes across the three existing CFCs in Toronto, Montreal, and Calgary, along with manual fulfilment solutions in nearly 100 stores.

Ocado and Sobeys have also agreed to end terms related to mutual exclusivity, which means they can seek other partners.

The two companies' partnership deal was signed in 2018. (Reporting by Echha Jain in Bengaluru and James Davey in London; Editing by Maju Samuel and William James)