Ocado plays up Hatfield capacity

Online grocer Ocado believes that its Hatfield distribution centre has the capacity to deliver£800 million worth of sales a year - more than 10 times its present run-rate.

The John Lewis-backed grocer, which sells Waitrose food, is convinced that the 1.2 million sq ft (111,480 sq m) centre can have a greater reach than originally anticipated.

Ocado now delivers as far north as the Midlands, as well as to the southeast.

CEO Tim Steiner believes that eventually Ocado will require a northern hub, but that he can in-fill other parts of the UK with 'spokes' linked to the Hatfield hub.

According to Steiner, Ocado is delivering approximately 16,000 orders a week, but the figure could increase to up to 30,000 by the end of the year. Steiner would not comment on financial projections, but it is understood that the e-tailer is looking for turnover in the region of£110 million this year.

Break-even is also slated for this year.

Steiner said: 'We see demand growing dramatically. Customers are swayed by the quality of our offer, and many have come from the opposition because of our better on- time and fulfilment records.'

Ocado has one of the lowest wastage rates in the industry, at about 1.3 per cent. The aim is to bring the figure below 1 per cent this year.