Ocado expands network as sales rise 25pc

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Home delivery grocer Ocado is expanding its delivery network with additional depots at Wimbledon and Bristol.

The Bristol depot opened on 2 March and increases Ocado’s coverage by one  million households and enables the Ocado service to be available in South Wales for the first time.

The Wimbledon depot is expected to be operational in May, and will increase the capacity of the delivery network by over 14,000 orders per week.

Ocado is also increasing capacity at its Hatfield customer fulfilment centre. In its interim management statement the company said: “As previously stated the business is at present, capacity constrained in the Hatfield customer fulfilment centre and customer demand exceeds this capacity.”

Gross sales rose 24.7 per cent to £146.2m for the 12 weeks to 20 February. The company has been investing in increased capacity at the Hatfield CFC with maximum orders delivered in a week exceeding 124,000 in the first quarter  compared with 96,000 last year.

Increasing the capacity of the Hatfield CFC towards its target peak capacity of 180,000 orders per week would enable continued sales growth in 2011 and 2012, it said.

It is working on a second fulfilment centre and said: “The CFC2 project continues to be on time and budget. It is expected to increase Ocado’s growth potential from 2013.”

Ocado chief Tim Steiner said: “Customer take up of the Ocado service continues apace with a 24.7 per cent increase in gross sales. Despite the economic headwinds in the UK, more and more consumers are seeing the benefits of online grocery shopping and we are increasing capacity to meet this demand.”

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