Ocado sales leap 40 per cent amid dramatic and permanent online shopping shift

Ocado has revealed a 40 per cent surge in retail sales amid a “dramatic and permanent” shift towards online shopping since the pandemic struck.

Ocado processed 329,000 orders a week,

The group said its retail arm joint venture with Marks & Spencer delivered retail revenues of £599m for the 13 weeks to February 28, covering the Christmas trading season – up 40 per cent on a year earlier.

The value of its average order jumped to £147, which it put down to a festive boost combined with the impact of the latest lockdown.

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Ocado processed 329,000 orders a week, up 2.5 per cent on a year earlier.

It said sales and earnings growth may ease as it comes up against strong results from a year ago, when the coronavirus crisis hit.

However, it expects revenue growth in the second quarter amid ongoing Covid-19 restrictions and as it ramps up production at its new mini hi-tech warehouse in Bristol.

Melanie Smith, Ocado Retail’s chief executive, said: “The second quarter represents the one-year anniversary of the start of the Covid-19 pandemic which accelerated the demand for online grocery.

“While this year’s quarterly sales figures will reflect the year-on-year comparisons with periods of full lockdown, we expect strong growth over the coming years as we continue to lead the charge in changing the UK grocery landscape, for good.”