Ocado robot tech drives sales

Written by Hannah McGrath

Ocado’s growing fleet of industrial robots have driven continued sales growth in the third quarter of this year, as the online grocer continues to reap the benefits of its automated warehouse system.

The group said its retail revenues had risen 11.5 per cent to £348.6 million over the three months to 2 September, slightly down on the 11.7 per cent seen in the first half of the year.

Average total orders per week were up 11.4 per cent to £283,000, with the average shopper spending £106.26 per order.

In a statement, the group said that its continued expansion was partly down to good performance from its latest automated warehouse based in Erith, Southeast London, which processed more than 20,000 customer orders in its first 14 weeks of operating.

In a call to journalists, chief executive Tim Steiner said that the Erith site now has between 500 and 600 robots. Its facility in Andover took 15 months to hit the order numbers, showing the efficiency gains brought by the technology at Andover, he said.

In a statement he said: “The new capacity from Andover and Erith, our robotic third and fourth warehouses, is helping meet consumer demand for our services and drive the channel shift which is transforming grocery retailing in the UK.”

Ocado has been investing in its robotics and automated technology ahead of delivering a number of warehouses in the next few years for retail partners that are hoping to take their groceries business online.

The group is working with Morrisons in the UK and has announced that it has obtained international deals to license its Ocado Smart Platform technology, which automates packing for order in robot-driven warehouses.