Ocado's sales rise 21.3 percent in Christmas period

LONDON Thu Jan 16, 2014 2:17am EST

LONDON Jan 16 (Reuters) - British online grocer Ocado posted gross sales growth of 21.3 percent in the six weeks to Jan. 5, reflecting strong trading in the seven days up to Christmas.

The firm, whose range includes products supplied by upmarket grocer Waitrose, said on Thursday it made gross sales of 111.1 million pounds ($181.67 million) in the six weeks to Jan. 5, up from 91.6 million pounds in the same period last year.

Gross sales for the 16 weeks to 1 December 2013 were up 20.1 percent to 271.0 million pounds, the company said, and average orders per week rose 19.1 percent to 151,743, while average order size nudged up 0.8 percent to 111.6 pounds.

"While we are encouraged by this current trading, the retail environment remains both challenging and competitive, with consumer sentiment subdued, and we expect to continue growing broadly in line with, or slightly ahead of, the market," the company said on Thursday.

Shares in Ocado have risen over five-fold in the last year on the back of a 200 million pounds-plus, 25-year deal with Morrisons, Britain's No. 4 grocer, to provide its online grocery operation, and on hopes it could do more deals overseas.

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