- Online grocery retailer Ocado said on Thursday a shortage of drivers had driven down sales for the quarter to December.
- The retailer said the problem had now been “largely resolved” and it is optimistic about the coming year.
- Ocado also announced an increase in retail revenue of 11.6% compared to the same quarter last year.
LONDON – Online grocery retailer Ocado said on Thursday a shortage of drivers had driven down sales in recent months, in its quarterly trading update.
A “lack of drivers” in some regions meant the retailer was unable to grow sales as much as it would have liked, although Ocado said this issue had now been “largely resolved.”
“While we continue to report sector leading double digit sales growth in our retail business, a shortage of capacity, with the lack of drivers in certain locations being the largest factor, restricted our sales growth,” said Ocado CEO Tim Steiner.
“While this driver shortage has now been largely resolved, there was some short term impact on average orders per week over the period,” he said.
Earlier this year, Ocado said it was working with tech startup Oxbotica to test grocery deliveries using self-driving cars. This would require the customer to take their shopping out of the vehicle, rather than have it hand delivered to their door by a driver.
In more positive news, the group’s trading update reported a growth in retail revenue of 11.6% compared to the same quarter last year, and that average orders per week were up 50% since the beginning of the quarter.
Ocado also announced an international partnership with French food retailer Groupe Casino.
The group is currently working to open a new customer centre in South East London in 2018, in order to be able to process an additional 200,000 order per week.
“We look forward to the coming year with confidence,” said Steiner.
Ocado shares were up 3.45% as of 11:32 GMT (06:32 EST) on Thursday.