Ocado quarterly sales rise 16.4 pct

LONDON, Sept 12 Thu Sep 12, 2013 2:35am EDT

LONDON, Sept 12 (Reuters) - British online grocer Ocado posted third quarter sales growth of 16.4 percent, broadly in line with expectations, and said it was encouraged by an increase in both orders and basket size.

Gross sales of 189.2 million pounds ($299 million) in the 12 weeks to August 11 were 16.4 percent higher than the same period last year and compared with a company-compiled consensus forecast of 16.8 percent.

That compares with a first half rise of 15.2 percent.

Shares in Ocado have risen over fourfold in the last year, mainly on the back of an over 200 million pounds 25-year joint venture deal with Britain's fourth largest grocer, Wm Morrison , to provide its online grocery operation by January 2014.

"We remain focused on improving the proposition to customers to make it easier for consumers to shop at Ocado, from an ever wider range, and at competitive prices. This should support further growth as the demand for online grocery shopping continues," the company said in a statement on Thursday.

Ocado, whose range includes products supplied by upmarket grocer Waitrose, said that it supplied 15.3 percent more customers who spent an average of 113.54 pounds, 1 percent higher than the same period last year.

Shares in Ocado closed at 371.1 pence on Wednesday, valuing the company at about 2.14 billion pounds ($3.38 billion).

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