Ocado boss plays down “small pockets of poor product availability”

CompaniesNews

Ocado chairman Tim Steiner has played down the “small pockets of poor product availability” in the grocer’s stock.

He said that the numbers were no worse than the average of the last 18 months despite the ongoing supply issues hampering the UK’s sector.

“There are small pockets of availability that we’d rather was better on the site and pre-pandemic our levels of overall availability was higher,” Tim Steiner told reporters.

“Sometimes you have to take one brand over another or one pack size over another or one variety over another but there really isn’t anything you can’t get on the website.”

The news comes as the online grocer announced its third quarter figures.

Revenue fell 11 per cent in Q3 (which ends on November 30) to £517.5 million from £578.8 million year-on-year.

But was up 38 per cent compared to Q3 in 2019, the company said.

READ MORE: Ocado cancels thousands of orders as its robots cause another huge fire

A fire which was caused by one of its robots in a distribution centre in South East London has been cited for the fall.

Ocado had been forced to cancel thousands of customer’s orders as a result.

However, average orders per week rose 1.4 per cent to 338,000 from 333,000 a year earlier but the company’s share price still fell 2.5 per cent as a result.

“Over the first 6 weeks of the quarter, the business was performing in line with expectations, with revenue marginally down 1.8%,” Ocado said.

“The firm was up against strong comparatives from a year earlier, when more virus restrictions were in force, benefiting the online-only grocer.

“But revenue was then hit by a fire at a customer fulfilment centre in London on July 16, which disrupted orders.

“In the remaining seven weeks of the quarter, and due to the disruption caused by the fire, revenue declined by 19 per cent.

“In addition to the need to cancel orders in the week following the fire, the temporary reduction in capacity reduced our ability to offer slots to new customers.”

Ocado also claimed its rising labour costs, specifically for its lorry and van drivers, has had a negative impact on its performance over the quarter.

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