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Ocado fire drives 10% revenue fall as customers return to high street

An online supermarket has reported that its revenues have dropped in the aftermath of a fire at one of its sites.

Ocado reported that its revenues dropped by 10.6 per cent to £517.5m over the past quarter, in a period which saw bricks-and-mortar stores begin to return to pre-pandemic levels.

As well as the lifting of lockdown restrictions, Ocado said that some of the downturn was caused by a fire at one of its fulfilment centres, which it estimated cost the company revenues of around £35m.

However, it added that it predicts “strong” revenue growth in 2022, following a “bumper” Christmas period.

Melanie Smith, CEO of Ocado Retail, commented: “There is so much to celebrate at Ocado Retail. On September 1 we marked the one-year anniversary of delivering M&S food to customers, marking a transformational partnership between two iconic British brands. We are delighted to see such a positive response from customers to these M&S products, which now represent 29 per cent of the basket.

“We’re also excited that the go-live of new state-of-the-art robotic customer fulfilment centres at Andover and Purfleet will significantly increase our capacity to serve customers and experience Ocado’s outstanding range, value and service. We are looking forward to another bumper Christmas and an exciting year of growth in 2022.”

Tim Steiner, chairman of Ocado Retail, said: “Despite the challenges we faced in the period, I am delighted to report that Ocado Retail is performing well, improving the customer experience even further and continuing to grow the business in a post-lockdown environment.

“I would like to pay tribute to the efforts of all my colleagues who worked so hard to get Ocado back to business so quickly following the fire in Erith. The success of these efforts demonstrated again the resilience of Ocado and its people.

“With a market leading customer offer and technology, we are confident Ocado Retail will continue to grow market share as we help them to roll out even more capacity and we look forward to Christmas and delivering strong growth in the new financial year, with our long term outlook as compelling as ever”.

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