Ocado Retail, a joint venture between Ocado Group and Marks & Spencer, is anticipating its 'best-ever' Christmas, after reporting 'strong momentum' in underlying demand in Q4.
In the 13-week period to 28 November, Ocado Retail reported a 3.9% drop in retail revenue compared to the same period last year, however revenue was up by close to a third (+31.6%) compared to 2019.
Average Orders Per Week
Average orders per week stood at 375,100, a 8.5% increase on the previous year and 14.0% up on 2019.
The company said that the growth in orders was impacted by changing conditions in the post-lockdown UK labour market, as well as a temporary reduction in capacity at its Erith Customer Fulfilment Centre (CFC) due to a fire.
The value of the average basket fell 12% compared to last year, to £118 (€138), however it was up 13% compared to 2019.
'Significant Capacity For Growth'
"The investments we have made over the past year mean we have significant capacity for growth in 2022 and we will continue to invest in facilities, systems and people in the year ahead to deliver on our long-term growth potential," commented Melanie Smith, chief executive, Ocado Retail.
"We are working hard to manage current industry challenges, and Ocado Retail has great momentum as we get ready for another record Christmas and further strong progress next year."
For full-year 2021, Ocado is expecting an outturn in line with previous guidance, while for next year, the group anticipates a 'return to strong, mid-teens revenue growth', at the upper end of the historic pre-COVID range of 10% to 15%.
It plans to open a new CFC in Bicester in the second half of 2022, while a new Luton CFC is set to open in the first half of 2023. The group added that it is continuing to search for additional sites.
"At a time of growing momentum in the channel shift from physical stores to online, we are bringing significantly more capacity to market and are confident that we are on a strong, long-term growth trajectory," added Tim Steiner, chairman, Ocado Retail.