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Sainsbury’s and Ocado report double-digit online sales growth

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Sainsbury’s and Ocado today both reported double-digit growth both in online sales and order numbers.

Sainsbury’s said online grocery sales grew by nearly 14%, as it reported its first overall sales rise in more than two years.

The supermarket said ecommerce order numbers were up by nearly 19% in the fourth quarter of its financial year, the nine weeks to March 12, while total retail sales grew by 1.2% in the quarter, or by 0.1% on a like-for-like basis, excluding fuel.

Chief executive Mike Coupe said the retailer had maintained its share of a competitive market during the quarter. It will now move towards phasing out multi-buy promotions, which customers said were too confusing, and created both waste and storage challenges. Instead, it will focus on lower regular prices, while also trialling a ‘waste less, save more’ initiative to reduce household waste.

The supermarket also opened more convenience stores as part of a multichannel strategy focusing on serving customers where and when they want to buy.

“We have traded well this year and are making excellent progress implementing our strategy,” said Coupe. “The market will remain competitive but we are confident that we will continue to outperform our major peers.”

Meanwhile Ocado reported retail sales of £286.7m in the 12 weeks to February 21, 13.8% up on the same time last year. Group sales, which include income from its agreement to supply technology and logistics capabilities to, reached £312.4m, 15.3% up on last time.

Over the 12 weeks, average orders reached 214,000 a week, 16.9% up on last year, but order size was 2.9% down at £111.41, from £114.72 at the same time last year. Since the end of the period the online grocer has shipped a record number of orders in a single week.

“We are pleased with the steady progress in our business, maintaining double digit sales growth in a retail environment that remains challenging, and post period end we shipped over 250,000 orders in a single week for the first time,” said chief executive Tim Steiner.

“We believe our focus on customer satisfaction and commitment to improving what we offer to consumers through innovation and our proprietary IP will support further growth. Notwithstanding the tough nature of the marketplace, we expect to continue growing ahead of the online grocery market.”

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