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Online supermarket Ocado sees growth double

Online supermarket Ocado has seen growth double in March as the business is overwhelmed by new orders from people staying indoors to avoid the coronavirus pandemic.

The retailer, which on Wednesday temporarily shut down its website to give itself breathing space, said that sales growth in the second quarter of the year was so far twice that in the three months ending March 1.

Ocado said it is working with its suppliers to increase its stock in relevant categories. However, it did not increase financial guidance for the year, saying the spike in orders now could mean a fall-off later as customers burn through their supplies instead of ordering more food.

Ocado Retail boss Melanie Smith said: “We have reported continuing growth at Ocado Retail with sales up 10.3% over the [first] quarter.

“The impact of higher basket values and order demand, amid growing public concern over the coronavirus, was limited in the quarter, although this has since picked up significantly and growth in the second quarter is so far double that of the first quarter. We expect the impact of forward-buying, however, to unwind at some point.”

She added: “I am tremendously proud of my colleagues and the outcomes we have achieved in the first quarter. I am confident that our resilience, teamwork and commitment will stand us in good stead to continue to deliver for our customers even with the current uncertainties.

“I’d also like to take this chance to thank our amazing drivers and warehouse staff who are working tirelessly to deliver groceries to as many people as possible in these uncertain times. Their dedication and hard work is truly amazing.”

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