Online grocer Ocado has reported pre-tax profitability in its first-half and struck a deal with French giant Carrefour to distribute selected goods in the UK.
Ocado reported interim pre-tax profit – its first over that timescale - of £0.2m compared to a loss of £6.7m in the equivalent period last year. Net sales climbed 20.1% to £276.6m in the 24 weeks to May 15.
The grocer is to pilot Carrefour’s Reflets de France range of “authentic French produce” from July 14. The offer will be available to all its British shoppers.
There has been some jitteriness in the City about Ocado’s increasing competition with Waitrose, whose products it delivers but which is expanding its own online operations. However Ocado described the tie-up with Carrefour as “complementary” to its arrangement with Waitrose.
Ocado chief executive Tim Steiner was pleased with performance overall. He said: “Strong customer demand has delivered profitable growth, limited only by our operational capacity.
“We are focused on increasing capacity to meet demand and improve delivery timetables and order accuracy.
“We are delighted to announce our supply partnership with Carrefour, an important development in our strategy to offer the broadest and most diverse grocery range to all our customers in the UK.”
The retailer reported a rise in average orders per week, but the average order size fell.
Ocado is building a second fulfilment centre to address capacity constraints.