Online grocer Ocado has posted a sales surge in its first quarter, when its average basket size fell as shopping frequency increased.

The retailer posted a 24.7% rise in gross revenues to £146.2m in the 12 weeks to February 20.

The average number of orders per week rose by 26.1% to 103,207 in the period while the average order size slipped to £118.06 from £119.38 in the comparable period last year.

Ocado opened a new distribution ‘spoke’ in Bristol earlier this week, increasing its coverage by 1m households. It can now cater for 70% of UK households. Another new spoke will open in Wimbledon in May.

The retailer said that shopper demand continues to exceed the capacity of its Hatfield warehouse. Increasing capacity is expected to allow continued sales growth this year and next, however and Hatfield should eventually be able to cope with 180,000 orders a week compared to 124,000 in the first quarter. A second Hatfield-style centre is also planned.

Ocado chief executive Tim Steiner said: “Customer take-up of the Ocado service continues apace. Despite the economic headwinds, more and more consumers are seeing the benefits of online grocery shopping and we are increasing capacity to meet this demand.”