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Ocado retail sales surge 40% as it benefits from “dramatic and permanent shift” to online grocery shopping

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Ocado has recorded a 40% jump in first quarter retail revenue, as the firm benefits from the “dramatic and permanent shift” towards online grocery shopping since the coronavirus outbreak.

The FTSE 100 online supermarket group led by Tim Steiner has benefited from millions of people using digital shopping for the first time during the pandemic.

In the 13 weeks to February 28 the average order size was£147,which the company said was “a result of seasonal strength over the festive period and a temporary reversal of the trend towards normalised shopping behaviour in response to further national lockdown measures in the UK”.

The figure in the same period last year, pre-pandemic, was £110.

Ocado’s retail arm, its joint venture tie-up with Marks & Spencer,saw sales increase 40% to £599 million.

The partnership launched in September after M&S replaced Waitrose as a grocery supplier to Ocado.

Steiner said:”Over the last twelve months, there has been a dramatic and permanent shift towards online grocery shopping around the world. Millions of customers have experienced online grocery shopping through the pandemic and many of them will not be going back to bricks and mortar.”

MelanieSmith, Ocado retail’s chief executive said: “Q2 2021 represents the one year anniversary of the start of the Covid-19 pandemic which accelerated the demand for online grocery; while this year’s quarterly sales figures will reflect the year-on-year comparisons with periods of full lockdown, we expect strong growth over the coming years as we continue to lead the charge in changing the UK grocery landscape, for good.”

The firm will open two more warehouses this year, while a minimum of 12 new micro sites are being sought, primarily in London, to support the roll-out of the Ocado Zoom immediacy concept which offers deliveries within one hour of ordering.

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