Ocado issues profit warning

British online grocer Ocado said its full-year earnings were on track to rise by at least a quarter after an easing of supply bottlenecks at its main distribution centre helped weekly deliveries hit a new record.

But Ocado, which mostly sells the products of high-end supermarket chain Waitrose, said underlying earnings for the year to 27 November would be within a range of £27.5m to £28.5m - less than forecasts.

Efforts to overcome capacity constraints at Ocado's main distribution depot in Hatfield to the north of London boosted deliveries to a record 131,381 in the final week of the year, the company said on Monday.

However, profit margins were narrower as the firm was forced to take on additional staff to keep up levels of customer service during work to expand capacity at the depot.

"We are encouraged by the operational capacity improvements that we have made, but are disappointed that we did not achieve as large or as early an increase as we had originally planned," chief executive Tim Steiner said