Newly-formed Ocado Retail joint venture highlights the customer experience as it reports first results

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Ocado Retail today said it would continue to improve the customer experience in what are the first results to come from the newly-formed joint venture between Ocado and Marks & Spencer. Those results pointed to customers buying slightly smaller grocery orders but doing so slightly more often as their shopping habits evolve.

The 50/50 partnership between the two was formalised in August, although it will not deliver M&S food until Ocado’s existing partnership with Waitrose ends. That’s set to happen at the latest in September 2020. Today the retailer released results for the 13 weeks to September 1 showed retail revenues of £386.3m over the period, up by 11.4% compared to the same time last year, with, on average, 314,000 (+12.1%) more orders placed each week as more delivery slots became available. But while order numbers were up, the average order size was down by 0.8% at £105.42, from £106.26 last time. This, said Ocado, reflected a “slightly greater frequency of purchase”.

The growth came as capacity was added at its fourth customer fulfilment centre in Erith – where Morrisons has agreed to forego its space in the wake of a fire at Ocado’s Andover centre earlier this year. 

Melanie Smith, Ocado Retail chief executive, said: “These first set of results from the joint venture between Ocado Group and M&S show the resilience of Ocado following the Andover fire and the momentum the business now has. As we continue to enhance our offering and add more capacity in the UK, our leading partnership will deliver the very best experience to an ever-growing number of customers.

“Bringing Ocado and M&S together online will give UK consumers even greater choice, value and service and will create important new opportunities for our colleagues, suppliers and other stakeholders. These are really exciting times for Ocado as we prepare the launch the full M&S food range online for the first time ever, which customers will be able to buy alongside their other favourite products on ocado.com from September 2020 at the latest.”

Tim Steiner, chief executive of Ocado Group, welcomed Smith to her new job. “We are all very excited at the opportunity ahead of her and her team. Together we are committed to improving even further the Ocado customer experience and growing the business to the benefit of all our stakeholders.”

Ocado.com, ranked Top100 in IRUK Top500 research, was founded in 2000 and is now able to deliver more than 50,000 products ordered through the Ocado website and the pet supplies Fetch website to 74% of UK households. Those products include Ocado own-brands, third-party brands and non-food goods.

Image courtesy of Ocado

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