August 22, 2019 / 7:51 AM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 1-Online UK supermarket Ocado reports fire at distribution centre

(Adds detail, shares)

Aug 22 (Reuters) - Ocado on Thursday reported a small fire at its customer fulfilment centre in Erith had been extinguished overnight, knocking shares in the British online supermarket and technology company.

A fire in February devastated Ocado’s flagship robotic distribution centre in Andover in southern England, prompting the group to warn of a reduction in sales growth until it increased capacity elsewhere.

Shares in Ocado fell more than 3% following the news and were down 1.9% at 1,219 pence at 0747 GMT.

The company said the latest fire occurred just outside the distribution centre building in a hopper containing waste packaging and that no part of the material handling equipment was involved.

It added that since the facility was evacuated there was some disruption and some customer orders have had to be cancelled.

“We sincerely apologise to those customers affected for the inconvenience this causes,” Ocado said, adding that fire suppression measures worked and the fire did not spread.

Ocado reported a 46% fall in first-half core earnings in July, reflecting the impact of the February fire, accounting changes and the cost of share schemes.

Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; editing by Arun Koyyur and Jason Neely

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