Ocado trading strong over festive period

City A.M. Reporter
Online grocer Ocado reported a 16 per cent rise in sales in December, a slowdown from the 26.7 per cent posted a year ago, but said its focus on service and an absence of 2010's snow helped it deliver nearly all orders on time.

The company, which mostly sells the products of high-end supermarket chain Waitrose, had to increase staffing in order to maintain service levels at its distribution depot last year, hurting its bottom line.

It posted sales of £59m from 450,700 orders, up 22 per cent, in the four weeks to 25 December.

Sales for the group's fourth quarter, which ended on 27 November, increased 11 per cent to £198.2m.

It said it expected growth levels in the first quarter to be flat on the fourth quarter of 2011, reflecting a tough economic backdrop.