StockMarketWire.com - Online grocer Ocado Group said today gross sales increased 16.6% to £642.8m in the year to 27th November, up from £551.1m in the previous year.

EBITDA increased by 26.6% to £27.9m (2010: £22m).

EBITDA margin increased from 4.3% to 4.7%.

Net debt at year end was £19.2m (2010: net cash of £80.5m).

Cash and cash equivalents at 27th November 2011 were £92.1m (2010: £154.6, including treasury deposits).

In a statutory sense, revenue increased 16% to £598.3m (2010: £515.7m) and operating profit was £1.1m (2010: operating loss of £5.4m).

Loss before tax reduced by 80.2% to £2.4m (2010: £12.2m).

Average orders per week increased by 18.6% to 110,219 (2010: 92,916), while average order size decreased by 1.7% to £112.15 (2010: £114.06).

Items delivered exactly as ordered were 98.3% in the period (2010: 99.0%). Deliveries on time or early were 92.3% in the period (2010: 94.9%).

Customer demand during the year continued to exceed Ocado's operational capacity.

Use of mobile devices continued to increase; mobile devices used in 18% of customer checkouts at the end of 2011, up from 12% since the beginning of the year.

Ocado's own-label range at year end comprised 620 products, up from 250 products in 2010; found in 70% of customer orders at year end.

Tim Steiner, CEO, said: "Against the backdrop of a weak UK economy, we have continued to see the development of the online grocery retail market. We believe this growth is evidence of a structural shift in consumer behaviour and we will continue to see an expansion of the online grocery retail market. We will continue to pursue our existing strategy in 2012 to improve what we offer our customers and increase our capacity to meet growing demand. It is our mission to make sure that customers continue to regard Ocado as the home of the market-leading offer in online grocery shopping."

Andrew Bracey, CFO, said: "With a sales increase of 16.6% in 2011, we are confident that Ocado grew faster than other players in the sector. We also ended the year with a strong cash position of £92.1 million. Because of our growing competitive advantage online we are well placed to deliver for shareholders as well as customers."



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