Ocado sales surge by 30pc after flotation

City A.M. Reporter
ONLINE grocer Ocado reported a 30 per cent jump in third-quarter sales as it seeks to boost confidence in the business following a turbulent initial public offering (IPO) in July.

Ocado, whose shares are trading 13 per cent below an IPO price which had already been cut by almost a quarter from the company's original goal, said on it made gross sales of £126.5m in the 12 weeks to 8 August.

Growth was in line with the rate achieved in the first half of its financial year and gross profit margins remained at a similar level to that period, the company said.

While Britain's store groups are struggling in an uncertain economic recovery, internet retailers are booming as time-pressed shoppers flock to buy goods online.
However Ocado, which sells the products of upmarket grocer Waitrose, has yet to make a pretax profit, and analysts are split whether its model of distributing from a central depot will ever be as cost-effective as filling online orders from local stores, as rival supermarkets do.

Ocado also faces growing competition, with Waitrose stepping up its own online service and analysts suggesting Wm Morrison Supermarkets Britain's No.4 grocer, may unevil a plan to move online in a strategy update on Thursday.