Online supermarket group Ocado has today acquired a new 2.3-acre site near Oxfordshire, which will provide the home for the company’s third new distribution centre this year and create around 170 jobs.
Work will begin immediately on the 43,000 sq ft of warehouse and office space, located on White Horse Business Park in Stanford-in-the-Vale.
It comes after Ocado reported its first ever pre-tax profits earlier this summer – it made £200,000 in the 24 weeks ending May 15th 2011 compared to a loss of £6.7 million per cent during the same period a year earlier – while gross sales have been rising ever since the e-tailer’s IPO last year.
After initial criticism at the time of the flotation, which coincided with share prices plummeting, Ocado has made strong progress in the last 12 months.
Retail analysts are still cautious about future growth though, considering up-market grocer Waitrose’s rapid expansion into online retailing in Ocado’s core market of London, increasing competition for customers.
Tim Steiner, CEO of Ocado, said: “We are fully focussed on increasing our capacity to meet customer demand, and to drive further strong growth and first-class service.
“This new distribution spoke site, which will be our third this year when it opens in November, clearly demonstrates that.
“We are extremely pleased to be extending the Ocado service and creating more local jobs.”
The new distribution spoke will operate 65 vans at peak capacity, adding to Ocado’s current fleet of 770 delivery vehicles.
Oxford will serve the existing delivery region and will also take capacity from Ocado’s regional distribution sites in Weybridge and Coventry, as well as its central Hatfield customer fulfilment centre (CFC).
A second CFC is currently under construction in Dordon, Warwickshire, and is due to be opened at the end of 2012.