Ocado Xmas sales jump 14.2%

Online grocer Ocado saw sales leap 14.2 per cent over the festive season, according to the retailer‘s latest trading update.

In the six weeks to January 6th 2013, the grocer recorder sales of £91.6 million, a 14.2 per cent increase on 2011, while sales in the seven days before Christmas rose by 17.1 per cent year-on-year to £21.8 million.

Customer orders for the six week period were up 11.4 per cent year-on-year, with the average number of orders per week for the final four weeks standing at 140,000.

Commenting on the retailer‘s successful festive season, Ocado CEO Tim Steiner said: “We are pleased to have helped record numbers of customers enjoy Christmas without the stresses and strains of visiting a physical supermarket.

“Our colleagues did an exceptional job in ensuring customers received the highest service standards with deliveries on time and in full.”

Multichannel retailing boosted sales for many retailers over the Christmas period, including women‘s fashion retailer Hobbs, which recorded a 60.2 per cent increase in online sales in the 10 weeks to January 5th 2013.

Analysts identified online channels as representing a growth spot in the food and grocery market, which is good news for Ocado‘s long-term growth.

Last November, the online grocer faced the possibility of breaching its banking covenants, a problem also faced by struggling entertainment retailer HMV, which collapsed into administration last night.

But Ocado was able to avoid a crisis by extending its debt facility, and Steiner is optimistic about the company‘s future.

Looking to the year ahead, Steiner commented: “As has been seen elsewhere in our sector, Christmas has amplified the fact that shopping online for groceries is of increasing importance for consumers.

“In 2013, we will substantially increase our capacity with the opening of our second fulfilment centre, and so we hope to make it possible for many more customers to escape crowded aisles, checkouts and car parks.”


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