Ocado remains profitable despite added competition

Ocado says orders and sales have both increased in the past three months despite difficult trading conditions and increased competition from Waitrose.

The online grocer, which delivers mostly Waitrose products and has the exclusive rights to deliver Waitrose products until 2020, remained profitable.

The company appears not to have been hit by the lifting of restrictions last year that allow Waitrose to deliver within the M25.

Sales increased 24.7% to £146.2m for the 12 weeks to 20 February while orders increased 26.1% year on year to 103,207 a week.

The retailer says that the increase in customer numbers and shopping frequency demonstrates the strength of the Ocado offer, however, basket size has declined 1.1% during the period.

Ocado is working to extend its reach and extend its delivery capacity and improve its website.

The company faces increased competition from Waitrose, which has announced plans to invest £10m in its online platform and delivery network.

Tim Steiner, chief executive officer of Ocado, says: “Despite the economic headwinds in the UK, more and more consumers are seeing the benefits of online grocery shopping and we are increasing capacity to meet this demand.”

The online retailer made its first ever quarterly profit in the final three months of 2010 after going public in 2010.

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