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Ocado enjoys 21.3% sales rise over Christmas

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Online grocer Ocado has posted a robust set of figures for the six weeks to 5 January as sales rose 21.3 per cent to £111.1m.

The company, which made £91.6m in the same period last year, is to grow its own label offering and exclusive range this year. In a statement it said it was “encouraged” by the results.

Average orders per week surged 19.1 per cent to 151,743, while average order size inched up 0.8 per cent to £111.60.

“The retail environment remains both challenging and competitive, with consumer sentiment subdued, and we expect to continue growing broadly in line with, or slightly ahead of, the market,” the company said on Thursday.

Traditional supermarkets in Britain are seeing little or no sales growth at their stores, but the online grocery market is surging.

The firm has not made an annual pre-tax profit since its foundation in 2000 by three former Goldman Sachs bankers but the £200m Morrisons deal has improved its forecast.

“In 2014 we expect the business to focus on the day job, particularly as Waitrose (John Lewis Partnership) becomes an evermore formidable competitor, said Clive Black, analyst at Shore Capital who retains a sell recommendation. “Additionally, we wouldn’t be surprised to see more ‘chatter’ about licensing agreements and collaboration with partners at home and abroad.”

Published on Thursday 16 January by Editorial Assistant

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