Ocado today reported a 16.4% increase in sales in the third quarter as the average number of orders per week rose 15.3%. Retail Week rounds up the City’s reaction.

Ocado’s top line growth of 18.8% was above our forecast of 17.5% and showed a pleasing acceleration compared with the second quarter. The acceleration is due in part to weaker comparatives, but Ocado believes that its proposition continues to improve and this may also have helped. The statement gives few other details, although it does confirm that the Morrison transaction completed during the period and its balance sheet now looks much more healthy than before. There is no comment on profitability, which we take to mean that the company is happy with the current consensus of around £42m for this year.

“The statement does not change our overall view – which is that Ocado has some very interesting growth opportunities, but that we struggle to value them at the current share price.” – James Anstead, Barclays

“Range growth (SKUs now over 33,000) continued to drive average basket (+1%), albeit more slowly than in previous quarters, as it was impacted by the rate of new customers growth which ran comfortably ahead of sales growth.” – Andrew Wade, Numis

“With average orders up 15.3%, over 33,000 SKUS in its range and the Morrisons offer set to launch in 2014, Ocado continues to move towards the scale it needs for profitability. Its prospects depend heavily on how well the tie-up with its new partner takes off and the kind of share it can achieve in some of the non-food sectors it is eyeing up, as well as on continuing to grow its popularity in the consolidated and fiercely competitive grocery market.

“There are plenty of opportunities open for Ocado, but none of them are easy wins. The glimmer of hope remains that no-one has yet found a way to deliver consumers a seamless food and non-food offer online. If Ocado can own this space it stands a chance but, despite recent successes, it is some way off yet.” – Matt Piner, Conlumino

“Continued acceleration in the sales growth trend is a positive for the company, especially in the context of significant strategic developments in the period that would have taken considerable management resources. Our forecasters imply a continued acceleration of sales growth towards an exit rate of growth of full-year 2013 of 20%.” – Franklin Walding, Goldman Sachs