Ocado has forecast a 13% uplift in gross sales for the second quarter, up from a rise of 10.9% in the first quarter.
The online grocer is expected to have recorded the growth in sales for the 12 weeks to May 13 following a quarter in which it expanded its capacity and operational performance to “record” levels at its Hatfield distribution centre.
The board said it is “encouraged” by the progress of the business so far this year. Ahead of the company’s annual general meeting, Ocado said: “Ocado continues to see sales growth increasing as demand for online grocery shopping expands and our award winning service and increasing range continue to attract new customers.
“A number of new enhancements have gone live in both the first and second quarter which will enable us to continue to expand our capacity, significantly extend our range, and improve our operational efficiency and customer service performance.”
The company said construction of its second customer fulfilment centre at Dordon is progressing “according to plan”, with testing and commissioning due to start over the summer.
Operations at the Warwickshire site are scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2013.
Independent analyst Nick Bubb said: “The shares have been weak ahead of today’s Ocado AGM update, but 13% sales growth over the last 12 weeks isn’t a disaster, given the bad weather, and the company says it is encouraged by progress so far this year and the “improving operational efficiency”. The bears, however, have a strong grip on this stock.”
Ocado has made a concerted push on marketing in the last quarter, running numerous £25 off customers’ first shop vouchers.
The etailer has launched and own label and a Free From webshops in the last month.