Ocado has reported gross sales up 26.7% to £50.9m in the four weeks to December 26, with gross sales of £12.3m, up 43.5%, in Christmas week itself.

For the full year in the 52 weeks to November 28, Ocado reported gross sales up 29% to £551.1m. In the fourth quarter gross sales increased 27.4% to £178.9m for the 16 weeks to November 28.

Average orders for the 16 weeks increased by 28% to 99,741. Average order size was £112.12, against £112.67 in the equivalent period of 2009.

Ocado said customer demand was “substantially higher” during the four weeks to Christmas but it reduced the number of delivery slots available to focus on high customer service in the bad weather. It said in the three weather comparable weeks, orders were up over 30%. Ocado added that despite the snow, Ocado delivered over 98% of customer orders in the four weeks to December 26.

The loss making chain floated last summer and its shares have been on a roller coaster ride ever since.

Tim Steiner, chief executive of Ocado, said:  “We are delighted to see the continued growth in demand for Ocado, a record number of customers shopped with us in this period.   This would not have been possible without the heroic efforts of our staff rising to the challenge of delivering a record number of orders in sometimes challenging conditions.   Our plan for dealing with extreme weather conditions enabled us to make over 98% of deliveries in the affected period.”

Andrew Bracey, chief financial officer of Ocado, said: “We are delighted that sales growth has continued at 29.0% for the whole year, in line with expectations at the time of the IPO.”

Shore Capital analyst Clive Black said Ocado has reported sales in line with its expectations but “the investment case does not change to our minds”.