Online grocer and technology group Ocado Group on Tuesday reported a 69% increase in 2019-20 core earnings, boosted by the pandemic generating huge demand for home delivery.

Group revenue rose 32.7% to £2.33 billion , with revenue from the retail business, a joint venture with Marks & Spencer, up 35% to £2.19 billion .

The group said retail revenue growth in 2020-21 year would be highly dependent on the length of COVID-19 restrictions and the timing of planned additional capacity.

It plans to open three new UK warehouses in 2021 which will provide 40% more capacity.

Ocado’s chief executive, Tim Steiner, said he wanted to “pay tribute to the remarkable work of our colleagues in exceptionally challenging circumstances”.

Ocado said in its full year statement : “The pandemic has accelerated the rate of channel shift to online.

“Online grocery market share in the UK has nearly doubled over the last year to 14%, according to Kantar. Similar trends are observable in the United States as well as many other countries around the world.”

Ross Hindle, from research firm Third Bridge, said: “These are not just results, these are remarkable results. Ocado couldn’t have asked for better trading conditions.

“The M&S partnership has, so far, proved positive for Ocado, with management highlighting that access to M&S products is now higher than the benchmark Waitrose set.”


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