Ocado, the online grocer, has reported a 40% surge in sales in the last three months and said it would benefit from the “dramatic and permanent shift” towards online shopping over the past year.

Ocado said revenues had grown 39.7% to £599m in the 13 weeks to 28 February, with average orders per week rising 2.5% to 329,000.

The average order cost £147, which Ocado put down to shoppers spending more on home grocery deliveries over the festive period, when many had to change their Christmas plans at short notice after stricter coronavirus lockdown measures, were introduced in England and during the latest national lockdown that followed in the New Year.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to a boom in online shopping, and supermarkets have also benefited as people have been spending far more time at home, with office workers ordered to work from home.

Ocado started selling Marks & Spencer products in September, which got off to a rocky start, but in the last three months M&S products made up more than a quarter of the average Ocado basket.

Tim Steiner, the chief executive, said: “Over the last 12 months, there has been a dramatic and permanent shift towards online grocery shopping around the world. Millions of customers have experienced online grocery shopping through the pandemic and many of them will not be going back to bricks and mortar.”

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The company has opened its first mini warehouse in Bristol, capable of fulfilling 30,000 more orders per week, to speed up delivery.

A second one is planned next year. Ocado also plans to open two standard sized warehouses in 2021, as demand for online groceries rises. The three new warehouses together will raise its capacity by 40%.

In addition, Ocado is looking for at least 12 new micro sites, mainly in London, to support the roll-out of “Ocado Zoom”, which offers deliveries within one hour of ordering.

This content first appear on the guardian

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