UK's Ocado swings to first half profit

LONDON, July 1 Tue Jul 1, 2014 2:13am EDT

LONDON, July 1 (Reuters) - British online grocer Ocado swung to a first half profit on Tuesday, putting the firm on track to make its first annual pretax profit this year.

Ocado, whose range includes products supplied by upmarket grocer Waitrose, said it had made a profit before tax and one off items of 7.5 million pounds ($12.8 million) in the 24 weeks to May 18.

That compares to a loss of 1.0 million pounds in the same period last year

Gross sales rose 15.6 percent to 442.4 million pounds, having been up 18 percent in the first quarter.

The company has not made an annual pretax profit since it was founded in 2000 but analysts have been forecasting one of about 16 million pounds for its 2013-14 year. ($1 = 0.5877 British Pounds) (Reporting by James Davey; editing by Kate Holton)