Online supermarket Ocado (OCDO) has wilted 14.3% to 275.7p as an update reveals consumers spent less on their average shop in the 12 weeks to 7 August.


Average orders per week at Ocado have increased by nearly a fifth from 190,000 to 226,000 over the same period.

But the average order size has declined by 3.4% from £111.75 to £107.94. This may be due to changing consumer trends favouring smaller, more frequent shops.

Gross sales are up 15.4% from £272 million to £314 million, while retail sales have climbed from £252 million to £286.4 million.

Ocado CEO Tim Steiner says: ‘As the market remains very competitive, we are seeing sustained and continuing margin pressure and there is nothing to suggest that this will change in the short term.’

Neil Wilson from ETX Capital is largely upbeat about the trading update, noting ‘half-decent numbers’ and an increase in orders and market share.

However, the squeeze in margins from less spend per order is concerning to Wilson as it suggests that Ocado has reached its peak in basket size, which is hard to see rising in a deflationary market.

The analyst also warns that competition in the grocery sector is fierce with an ongoing price war, while food delivery service Amazon Fresh is threatening to completely disrupt the market.

Wilson reckons Ocado is overvalued with a PE ratio of 150 times earnings with no dividends, which means stronger future profits are needed to justify the valuation and avoid a potential takeover.

In August, Ocado announced a deal with Morrisons (MRW) to share some of the capacity of its customer fulfilment centre, which is currently under construction in Erith, London.

Issue Date: 13 Sep 2016