Deal with Morrisons boosts Ocado

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British online grocer Ocado has posted an annual pre-tax profit for the first time since it was founded in 2000.

The firm, which signed its first third-party deal with Bradford-based Morrisons in 2013, said it made a pre-tax profit before one off items of £10.1m in the year to November 30 2014.

That was in line with analyst expectations and compares with a loss of £3.8m in the 2012-13 year. Ocado said it was confident that it had significant opportunities for growth in sales and shareholder value, noting talks continued with multiple potential international partners.

It said it expected to continue growing slightly ahead of the online grocery market.

Tim Steiner, the chief executive of Ocado, said: “The successful launch and smooth ramp up of Morrisons.com was particularly encouraging and paves the way for future agreements to commercialise the value of our intellectual property. The development of Ocado Smart Platform, enabled by our IT replatforming and fulfilment solutions projects, positions us well to take advantage of future opportunities as the demand for online grocery shopping increases internationally. Overall, we are well equipped to continue to lead the online grocery revolution, in the UK and overseas, as increasing numbers of customers shift away from traditional forms of retailing. We are confident that we have significant opportunities for growth in sales and shareholder value.”