Online retailer Ocado, which delivers groceries for Waitrose and Morrisons, reported a slowdown in sales growth over the past four months, reflecting the cut-throat retail market.
The company said gross retail sales rose 13.0 per cent to £351.8m in its fourth quarter which covers the 16 weeks to November 29, below the 15.3 per cent in its third quarter.
Ocado disappointed analysts by giving no update on a long awaited first technology deal with an overseas partner, which it had aimed to sign in 2015.
In September Ocado said it was confident of achieving an overseas before the end of the year, with the focus on possible partners in north America and western Europe.
Analysts see securing international deals as the key influence on Ocado’s stock market valuation.
Ocado’s average orders per week rose 15.8 per cent to 205,000, although average order size dipped 2.3 per cent to £107.16 as consumers tighten their belts on grocery spending, preferring to spend pay increases on holidays and big ticket items.
Chief executive Tim Steiner said the grocery market remains challenging and competitive.
“We anticipate the retail environment to remain challenging, but expect to continue growing sales ahead of the online grocery market,” he said.