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Author: Alan LittleDate: 2021-12-15

Ocado (OCDO) +7% after forecast for “best-ever” Christmas trading

Ocado (OCDO) traded up 7% in London on Tuesday after Ocado Retail said that it was on course for record Christmas sales amid strong underlying demand for products.

Ocado (OCDO) shares jumped 7.31% by Tuesday’s close in London after the UK-based online grocery business said that it was on track for its “best-ever” Christmas, despite lorry driver shortages that hit Q4 revenue.

In its latest update, Ocado Retail said that sales dipped 3.9% year-over-year in the three months to 28th November due to labour problems, though the £547.8m figure was still way up (+31.6%) on pre-pandemic levels due to robust demand.

Ocado Retail is an online supermarket that Ocado Group has a 50% joint stake in alongside Marks and Spencer Group (MKS).

Average weekly orders at Ocado.com over the period climbed 8.5% to 375,000 as the number of active customers on its platform soared by almost a quarter to 832,000.

Now in the midst of the very busy festive period, Ocado expects those engaged customers to contribute to a record December.

Marks & Spencer products are likely to be very popular as the supermarket’s products accounted for almost a third of average baskets during the latest trading period.

Ocado Retail is also planning to extend its new ‘Zoom’ service, which currently offers same-day delivery in west London, to more locations next year.

Chief executive Melanie Smith said that Ocado Retail has “significant capacity for growth” during the next 12 months following a string of investments.

She noted that it was “working hard” to address “industry challenges”, but that there is “great momentum” heading into Christmas and the new year.

Ocado shares have slumped around 40% during the last 12 months, but there were notable gains on Tuesday as a 7.31% advance pushed OCDO to 1,678.00p at the session’s close.

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