Ocado sales and orders up in ‘strong’ fourth quarter

Ocado has unveiled strong growth in sales and order volumes in its fourth quarter but said “industry wide price deflation” hit average order size.

The online grocer, which also operates Fetch.co.uk and new beauty site Fabled, said retail sales grew 13.1% to £398.1m in the 16 weeks to November 27. Across its full-year, retail sales are up 13.6%.

Ocado chief executive Tim Steiner said this reflected “the attractiveness” of its customer proposition.

However, against a backdrop of a supermarket price war and the looming threat of AmazonFresh, its average order size dipped 2.9% to £105.61.

The etailer said this was a consequence of both “continued industry-wide price deflation” and further take up of its ‘Smart Pass’ leading customers to shop more frequently.

The number of orders per week grew 17.6% to 241,000 in the period, driven by both new and existing Ocado customers.

The etailer confirmed it has now commenced operations at its third customer fulfilment centre (CFC) in Andover.

Steiner said: “This is the first of our CFCs to use our new proprietary infrastructure equipment solution and software, which will support the ongoing growth of our business.”

Ocado has plans to open a fourth distribution centre in East London next year to meet the boom in internet food shopping.

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