Ocado posts 11th consecutive annual loss but forecasts profit


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The Independent Online

The online grocer Ocado has mounted a vigorous defence of its business model after posting another loss for the 11th year running.

The Hatfield-based company also said it was on track to start delivering from its second warehouse in Warwickshire this month, which will give it the potential to double its delivery capacity.

Ocado posted losses of £1 million over the year to November 25, on sales up 11% to £664 million. While this marked an improvement, it again raised questions about its costly and capital-intensive business model of picking groceries from a dedicated warehouse and delivering them over long distances to people’s front doors.

Philip Dorgan, analyst at Panmure Gordon, said: “2012 was another difficult year for Ocado. It failed to deliver accelerated sales growth and needed to raise money.”

Finance director Duncan Tatton-Brown said: “This year — before exceptional items — we have made a pre-tax profit for the first time ever.

“This business is on a trajectory and if we can continue on this trajectory it will lead to a profitable business.”