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Ocado: Marks and Spencer-linked tech grocer to unveil improved sales after eventful year

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After a colourful year, online supermarket and automation giant Ocado will later this week unveil its earnings for 2023. 

Shares in grocery tech firm are down by around three-quarters from their short lived lockdown peak of early 2021.

Its retail arm, which it shares 50-50 with Marks and Spencer, already offered an encouraging trading update in January, as customers fell back in favour with the brand following a series of price cuts. 

The posh grocer said it was boosted by its highest level of sales over Christmas, selling over 90 per cent  of peak slots released by mid-October.

For the full year, revenue was up seven per cent to £2.3bn and average orders were up 6.3 per cent to 407. 

However, most of its gains are expected to come from its robotics arm which reported a 35 per cent surge in growth during the half year. 

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said group sales are seen rising nine per cent  to £2.7bn for fiscal 2023, and the pre-tax loss is expected to drop to £439m from £501m. 

He added: “Ocado Retail has already guided to mid-to-high single digit revenue growth for 2024 so much attention will switch to the solutions and logistics operations, where customers licence and use the Ocado Smart Platform technology. 

“Both are expected to show positive EBITDA for 2023 and analysts will look for detail on the roll-out of the customer fulfilment centres (CFCs) across the partnerships that are live, and especially Coles in Australia, where there has been a delay.”

It follows a colourful year for the public company who was at one point at the centre of takeover rumours by fellow tech-giant Amazon.

Ocado also shuttered its oldest fulfilment centre in Hatfield placing 2,300 jobs at risk, and moved operations to other locations across the UK such as Luton. 

Internally, the firm waved goodbye to Luke Jensen, its executive director and CEO of Ocado

Solutions. Ocado also said two of its senior employees will step down from the board to “refresh” its top table and have more women in senior roles.

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