The online supermarket and technology group Ocado has reported "strong momentum" despite suffering a 27 per cent fall in annual core earnings, after a fire destroyed its flagship warehouse.
Ocado said on Tuesday it made earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of £43.3 million pounds in the year to December 1 2019.
Tim Steiner, Chief Executive Officer of Ocado Group, said: "We are pleased to report results which show strong momentum in the business. Although statutory results reflected a combination of factors, including the impact of the Andover fire, the underlying performance of Ocado Retail and the successful growth of Ocado Solutions were very encouraging.
"Our progress over the last twelve months, which includes signing our eighth and ninth solutions clients, Coles in Australia and Aeon in Japan, and successfully maintaining strong growth post-Andover, has demonstrated many of Ocado group's most important characteristics: resilience, innovation, focus and execution. It is these qualities that will enable us to continue to develop the Ocado Smart Platform to meet the evolving needs of our partners at the cutting edge of online grocery retail.
"The first half of this year will see a new milestone for Ocado Group; the opening of the first customer fulfilment centres for our international partners. These state-of-the-art robotic facilities are a core part of an end-to-end solution embracing automated fulfilment, an intuitive and easy to use webshop, and hyper-efficient last-mile delivery which will enable Sobeys and Groupe Casino to deliver the same outstanding customer experience to consumers in Canada and France as Ocado Retail does today here in the UK.
"The landscape of grocery retailing globally is changing. We are excited to be able to play a leadership role through Ocado Retail, our joint venture with M&S, and through our Solutions partnerships, as we fulfil our mission of "changing the way the world shops".
Last year, Ocado announced two major investment deals to help it expand into vertical farming.
As part of this development, the online retailer bought a majority stake in Scunthorpe-based Jones Food Company, Europe’s largest operating vertical farm.