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Ocado retail sales down in third quarter as orders rise

11:36 am, 18th September 2018

The group said retail revenues rose 11.5% over the 13-week period, but this was down on the 11.7% growth it reaped in the first half of the year.

Ocado’s average total orders per week rose by 11.4% to £283,000, with the average value of customer orders essentially flat at £106.26.

Despite the slight dent in growth, Ocado said it remained within its forecast range for the full year of between 10% to 15%.

The online grocer and delivery company took solace in a good performance from its newest automated warehouse in Erith, southeast London, which it said had processed more than 20,000 customer orders in the first 14 weeks since launch.

It said this took its other recently opened site in Andover, Hampshire, 15 months to achieve.

Ocado said that Erith had the potential to become the largest automated warehouse for online grocery in the world, at full capacity.

Tim Steiner, Ocado’s chief executive, said: “The new capacity from Andover and Erith, our robotic third and fourth warehouses, is helping meet consumer demand for our services and drive the channel shift which is transforming grocery retailing in the UK.

“We are proud to have opened our Erith Customer Fulfilment Centre this summer on time and on budget.”

He added the group was also on track to deliver new robotic warehouses for retailer partners over the coming years.

Ocado provides the technology to its partners to allow them to take their services online.

The group, which works with Morrisons in the UK, recently announced long-awaited international deals to license its Ocado Smart Platform technology, an automated system for packing orders in warehouses operated by robots.

Ocado is “fulfilling our goal of changing the way the world shops”, Mr Steiner said.

But Ocado recently warned that investment in the new warehouses and technology behind its automated systems will hit earnings this year, with spending expected to rise to £210m.

Ocado shares were up about 1% in early trading.