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Ocado and N Brown Group unveil Christmas trading

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Ocado today unveiled sales up by a fifth in the final quarter of its financial year.

Gross retail sales at the online grocer rose to £271m in the 16 weeks to December 1, 20.1% up from £225.7m during the same period in the previous year.

Christmas sales ran slightly further ahead, with gross sales up by 21.3% to £111.1m in the six weeks to January 5. In the full year, retail sales rose by 17.2% to £843m, while group sales, including benefits from the Morrisons deal, were 18.6% up at £852.5m.

Tim Steiner, chief executive, said growth reflected increasing consumer demand for online grocery ordering. “The seven days leading up to Christmas were particularly strong,” he said, “with sales up nearly 29% and several days of over £5m of sales, helped by the additional fulfillment capacity that we put in place during 2013.”

The company also hailed a successful launch for, whose first deliveries were made on January 10.

Meanwhile, at N Brown Group , sales rose by 5.2% in the 19 weeks to January 11. Over Christmas, the six weeks to January 11, sales were 7.2% ahead on a like-for-like basis. The company, whose brands including Simply Be, Jacamo and Figleaves, said its strongest sales had come from its younger brands.

Online transactions accounted for 58% of revenue. N Brown Group said service improvements including Click and Collect, which operates both in its own expanding network of stores – expected to reach 25 in coming years – and 3,500 parcel shops UK-wide, helped boost online sales. Next-day deliveries accounted for 40% of the demand in the Christmas week, with orders taken up to December 23.

Angela Spindler, chief executive, said: “N Brown has continued to deliver robust, reliable growth whilst stepping up investment in our multi-channel, international future. Having been with the business now for six months, I am even more convinced of its substantial long-term growth potential.

“We are applying the group’s unique skills in larger size fashion through a range of increasingly distinctive, relevant, contemporary brands across a broader base of customers and channels. We are only at the start of grasping this opportunity.”

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