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Ocado chief forecasts strong sales ahead despite ‘challenging’ economy

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Ocado today reported a 10% sales boost in the third quarter of its financial year – and said that it expected to see growth continue in the months ahead, despite a challenging economy.

In an interim management statement, the online grocer said sales were up by 9.9% to £162.6m in the 12 weeks to August 5, from £147.9m at the same time last year. That took gross sales growth for the year so far to 11.3%.

It said that average weekly orders were up by 8.6% in number to 120,494 in the period, while the average order rose in value to £112.44 from £111.08 at the same time last year.

Looking ahead, it said that it expected sales would grow still faster in the fourth quarter of the year.

“The grocery market and the general economic picture remain challenging, with consumer confidence subdued and significant competitive couponing activity,” said Tim Steiner , chief executive. “Notwithstanding this environment, we have continued to build on the foundations we have put in place to deliver growth and operational improvement through the rest of this year and for the future, and we are targeting an increase in sales growth through the remainder of the period.”

Ocado said operations at its first customer fulfillment centre in Hatfield were more efficient, while testing at the second was on track for operations to start in the first quarter of next year.

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