Ocado blames slowdown on Olympic effect

Kasmira Jefford
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OCADO yesterday blamed a slowdown in sales on the disruption caused by the Jubilee and this summer’s sporting events, but said it expects sales to pick up in the last quarter of the year.

The online supermarket said sales rose 9.9 per cent to £163m in the 12 weeks to 5 August, down from first-half growth of 12 per cent and compared with a consensus forecast for an 11 to 13 per cent rise.

But chief executive Tim Steiner insisted trading had improved since and said: “Our customers’ ordering patterns have returned to normal after the one-off Jubilee and Olympic events, and are excited by the prospects of the changes we are making to our proposition to shopper.”

This includes the group’s “low price promise”, which it recently launched to win over customers by pledging to offer products at a cheaper price to rival retailers.

Jefferies analysts remained unconvinced of signs of an acceleration in sales growth and lowered their full-year earnings forecasts to £34.5m.

Shares closed down 4.17 per cent to 64.40p last night.