Online food retailer Ocado announced 13 per cent revenue growth to nearly £1.6bn today, but losses after tax increased more than fourfold to nearly £45m.
The company has seen its share price more than double over the last year, with news late last month that it was in talks for a partnership with Marks & Spencer giving shares a further boost.
Chief executive Tim Steiner said: “We now have in place a platform for significant and sustainable long-term value creation as the leading pure-play digital grocer in the UK, a world-leading provider of end-to-end ecommerce grocery solutions, and as an innovative and creative technology company applying our proprietary knowledge to a range of challenges.
"Our transformation journey is well under way with increased cash fees earned and greater investment as we execute on behalf of our partners. Creating future value now will involve us continuing to scale the business, enhancing our platform, enabling our UK retail business to take advantage of all its opportunities for growth, and innovating for the future.”
The chief financial officer said profit had been hit by "investments in our platform to deliver future growth for both our existing and future partners. It was also impacted by share-based senior management incentive charges following the significant share price increase in the year and by additional depreciation following the opening of the Erith CFC [customer fulfilment centre]."
Ocado said it aims to grow revenue in its UK retail business 10-15 per cent this year assuming economic conditions remain broadly stable.
The company said it grew active customers 11.8 per cent to 721,000 and total order volumes 12.1 per cent to an average of 296,000 orders per week in 2018.
Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "Ocado’s recent losses won’t bother the robots in the warehouses, nor the executives in the boardroom. It’s been a transformational year for the online supermarket, though its success won’t show in bottom line for several years to come.
"Indeed Ocado isn’t expected to turn a profit until 2020, and is one of the most expensive shares in the Footsie, reflecting the stock market’s forecast of stellar long term growth. That’s because Ocado has managed to sign deals with a number of international supermarkets, to help them crack the online delivery market."
Ocado's share price fell two per cent this morning to 972p.