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Ocado posts record online sales over festive period

12 January 2011 - 10:00 by Mike Price

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The weeks leading up to Christmas may have been defined by the snowy weather but online grocery specialist Ocado announced this week that it had seen a boost to its sales that outstripped performance in previous years.

During the month before Christmas, the firm sold £50.9 million worth of goods, which is an increase of almost 27 per cent when compared to the same period in 2009.

The biggest boost to its performance was recorded in the seven days leading up to the 25th of December, when sales were up by over 43 per cent, hitting 12.3 million in one week.

Despite offering safe shopping online and grocery deliveries to thousands of UK customers for more than a decade, Ocado has still never made a profit in a given year.

Unlike mainstream supermarket delivery services like those offered by Tesco and its rivals, Ocado is designed to cater to those who prefer to buy goods based on quality rather than those who are looking for the cheapest price.

Ocado was floated on the stock market in the summer of 2010 and although it managed to make a solid showing in the festive season last year, it has seen its shares slump by five pence to 181p. Since it hit the markets its value has grown but this shows that there is still a lot of work to do for this boutique online delivery service.

There are only 200 employees working from Ocado's main UK distribution centre and it pioneered using m-commerce for safe shopping online back in 2009 when it launched the first iPhone app providing this service. It has since added apps to the Android market to include a wider audience and it looks like 2011 could be a year of continued growth.