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Ocado maintains growth in the face of the Beast from the East

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Ocado today said it had maintained sales growth in its latest financial quarter, amid the disruption of the Beast from the East.

Despite the bad weather, Ocado, a Top50 retailer in IRUK Top500 research, said it operated at maximum capacity for most of the quarter, the 13 weeks to March 4. Today, in a trading update, it reported retail revenues of £363.4m, a rise of 11.7% on the same time last year. Average weekly orders rose by 11.1% to 280,000, but average order sizes fell slightly to £110.45, from £110.85 last year.

Ocado chief executive Tim Steiner said: “The reported rate of retail revenue growth over the quarter was broadly the same as in Q4 2017 as we operated at maximum capacity for most of the quarter and were impacted by the winter storms that caused widespread disruption during the final week. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my colleagues who nonetheless succeeded in delivering nearly 300,000 orders over the last week of the quarter, often in the most trying conditions.”

The retailer is now focusing on increasing the volumes it can handle through its Andover customer fulfilment centre and through its Erith centre, due to open in the middle of this year.

It has also raised £143m through a share placing to finance investment in its Ocado Solutions technology partnerships with third-party retailers around the world. Today it said teams working on its partnerships with Group Casino and Sobeys were making progress. “We remain confident that our Ocado Solutions business will be able to do further deals with the momentum of new signings building over time,” said Steiner. “Taking advantage of the opportunities ahead of us is both challenging and exhilarating. The business is firmly looking forward.”

Ocado already provides the technology platform and logistics from which operates. More recently it has struck deals with retailers from Dobbies Garden Centres to Groupe Casino in France.

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