Ocado celebrated its 13th consecutive quarter of double-digit sales growth on Thursday, announcing a 15% rise in sales in the fourth quarter to £381.6 million ($579.1 million).
Across the year, sales rose by 17.3% to £1.2 billion ($1.8 billion), the online grocer says in a brief trading update. Ocado also passed 200,000 orders per week, with orders rising 15.8% to 205,000 per week in the fourth quarter.
But the one blot on the update was a decline in average order size, which fell by 2.3% in the fourth quarter to £107.16. CEO Tim Steiner put this down to Ocado “following market moves in pricing.”
Supermarkets and grocers have been caught up in a deflationary price-war, sparked by the rise of German discounters Lidl and Aldi in Britain. Most retailers have been forced to cut prices to hang on to market share.
CEO Tim Steiner says in this morning’s statement:
We are committed to further improving our offer to customers and to driving operational and capital efficiency across the business, which we believe will support growth. We anticipate the retail environment to remain challenging, but expect to continue growing sales ahead of the online grocery market.
Ocado didn’t give any word on a possible international expansion, which was promised by the end of the year. Independent retail analyst Nick Bubb says in an email this morning: “Time is running out for Ocado to deliver its much-promised International licensing deal and find a new online grocery partner by year-end.”
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