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Ocado achieves 25% sales growth in first quarter

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Despite fresh competition from Waitrose Direct and a tough trading climate in the UK, Ocado has increased both orders and sales in the past three months. This validates its strategy to increase capacity in readiness for further demand, said the online grocer.

Sales increased 24.7% to £146.2m for the 12 weeks to 20 February while orders increased 26.1% year on year to 103,207 a week. The retailer said an increase in customer numbers and shopping frequency demonstrates the strength of the Ocado offer. There was news however that basket size has declined 1.1% during the period. The average order size slipped to £118.06 from £119.38 in the comparable period last year.

Tim Steiner, chief executive officer of Ocado, said: “Despite the economic headwinds in the UK, more and more consumers are seeing the benefits of online grocery shopping and we are increasing capacity to meet this demand.”

Ocado faces competition from Waitrose which is investing heavily in its own online platform and delivery infrastructure. Restrictions were lifted last year that allow Waitrose to deliver within the M25.

Ocado is pressing on with expansion however, and this week opened a new distribution ‘spoke’ in Bristol, extending its grocery delivery service to an additional one million households. Another new spoke will open in Wimbledon in May. Ocado’s distribution network has around 70% coverage of the UK now.

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