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Ocado reports double digit rise in retail sales

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Ocado today reported retail sales up by 15.2% in the first quarter of its financial year.

The online grocer’s sales from its owned operations hit £252.0m in the 12 weeks to February 22, 15.2% ahead of the same period last year. Those operations include specialist cookshop sizzle.co.uk and pet shop fetch.co.uk as well as its primary ocado.com business.

Group sales, which include the takings from Ocado’s agreement to supply the technology and logistical capacity underpinning Morrisons.com, reached £271.1m, 19.2% up compared to the same time last year.

While the average number of orders placed each week grew by 18.1% to 183,000, average order sizes fell by 2.4% to £114.72 from £117.53.

Ocado chief executive Tim Steiner said the business had continued to grow in a challenging and competitive market and put the emphasis on quality customer service as the key to future growth.

“We remain committed to improving the quality of the proposition to customers, which we believe will support further growth,” he said. “Notwithstanding the uncertainty that remains in the marketplace, we expect to continue growing slightly ahead of the online grocery market.”

Commenting on the figures, Bryan Roberts, director of retail insights at Kantar Retail, said: “While Ocado still has more than its fair share of critics and sceptics, we continue to be impressed by both its pace and direction of travel in what remains a tremendously competitive market. The group has positioned itself, through breadth and depth of range, to be relatively underexposed to any ‘price war’ this year and the development of new CFCs, websites and apps has prepared the business well for future domestic growth.

“The missing piece of the jigsaw is the first overseas deployment of the Ocado Smart Platform for an international food retailer – a development that we sincerely hope happens sooner rather than later as the final vindication of Ocado’s business model.”

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