Ocado has committed to rebuilding its Andover warehouse that was gutted by a fire, despite admitting the site is “ruined”.
The online grocer’s finance boss Duncan Tatton-Brown said it was looking to replace the capacity it had lost in the Hampshire town, but would not be drawn on how long the rebuild operation would take following the blaze that ravaged the depot in early February.
The disaster wiped around 1.2% off Ocado’s first-quarter sales growth, but the business still registered an 11.2% spike in retail revenue to £404m in the 13 weeks to March 3.
Speaking after unveiling those figures, Tatton-Brown said the Andover site was “still ruined” and needed to be cleared before the rebuild operation could get under way.
“We’ll be looking to rebuild in Andover,” he said. “The plans for exactly what we will rebuild and the timescales are still being worked on. We’re looking to rebuild and replace capacity, both in Andover and elsewhere, frankly.”
Tatton-Brown added that the Andover fire was likely to dent sales by at least another 3% in its second quarter.
An investigation into the cause of the blaze is ongoing. Ocado is expected to say more about the probe at its interim results on July 9.
Tatton-Brown also confirmed that Ocado is working on finalising a site for a fifth customer fulfilment centre and said a fuller announcement could “reasonably be expected to happen by the half year, or around the half year”.