Online supermarket underdog Ocado has considerably reduced its pre-tax losses and will this year open its second distribution centre – creating more than 1,000 jobs.
The business, which has this week re-launched the Ocado Affiliate Programme on the Google Affiliate Network, has just released its annual results which revealed a gross sales growth of 11.4% in 2012.
The company, which opened in partnership with Waitrose back in 2002, posted pre-tax losses of £600,000 in the 53 weeks to December 2 2012, down from 2011 when the company reported a loss of £2.4 million - which was also a huge improvement on the 2010 loss of £12.2 million.
Gross sales increased 11.4% to £716.2 million for the period, accelerating to a growth of 14.2% for the six trading weeks to January 6 2013.
A spokesman from the UK company said: “Against a tough economic environment, we continue to see that shopping online for groceries is of increasing importance for consumers, evidenced by the online growth figures reported across the grocery industry.
“As more and more shoppers leave physical stores to shop for their weekly groceries from the comfort of their own homes, we have seen our competitors investing more into the online channel.”
Warehouse-based Ocado, which has no physical shops and operates from a purpose-built picking centre, saw an increase of 57,000 customers during 2012, taking the amount of active customers to 355,000.
Record Shopping Volumes
In 2012 Ocado extended its range by more than 40%, launched updated mobile apps and as a result the highest number of orders delivered in a week exceeded 140,000 during the period.
The report stated that peak day volumes ran consistently at new record levels and sales of the Ocado own-label range was up more than 70 per cent year-on-year, with more than 77 per cent of customers’ baskets now containing at least one Ocado own-label product.
In 2013, Ocado will substantially increase its capacity with the opening of its second fulfilment centre, creating more than 1,000 jobs in the Midlands.
The Ocado affiliate programme offers publishers the chance to earn at least £6 commission on orders from new customers, among other deals.