Ocado van

Surging demand for online delivery has brought strong sales for the Ocado Retail joint venture.

The partnership, which is a tieup between Ocado and Marks & Spencer, reported revenue growth of 35 per cent to £576.6m in the 13 weeks to 29 November as shoppers continued to shop online.

The business saw an average order size of £133, while the Erith customer fulfilment centre ended the period at over 130,000 orders per week. The biggest-selling lines were everyday essentials in the M&S fresh categories.

Chief executive Melanie Smith said: 'We continue to make good progress bringing even greater choice, quality, and value to our customers following the switchover to M&S at the beginning of September. At Ocado Retail we are constantly looking to raise the bar even further and the addition of M&S products to our grocery ranges has enhanced what was already the widest choice of products available online.

'Despite exceptional demand during the period, we have high rates of on-time customer delivery and low rates of substitutions. This, together with our commitment to competitive prices and the freshest produce available, all delivered in a way that minimises handling and maximises hygiene, has strengthened our credentials as the UK online grocery market leader in terms of customer experience.'

Smith added that Ocado Retail plans to open three new warehouses in 2021, which will give the business 40 per cent more capacity.