Mar 18, 2021

Ocado Retail sales rise 39% as lockdown boosts at-home demand

Sales at Ocado Retail rose by two-fifths in its latest quarter, as the most recent lockdown boosted at-home food consumption, but it expects trading to return to more normal patterns and offered no profit guidance for the year. The joint venture between Ocado and Marks and Spencer dispatched 329,000 orders a week during the 13 weeks to the end of February, a small increase on last year that reflects the limits of its automated picking capacity. That pushed sales up 39 per cent compared with a quarter last year that was comparatively unaffected by the Covid-19 crisis. Melanie Smith, chief executive of the venture, said growth in subsequent quarters would be subject to comparisons with periods of full lockdown and very high growth. Gradual increases in capacity will allow the company, which had to reduce the number of customers it served over the course of last year, to dispatch more orders.

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