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Ocado gets a lift on Q1 numbers, as UK grocers battle for market share

Food retail is in focus today, after Ocado Group published its Q1 numbers, while the latest Kantar survey shows that UK food retailers have continued to do battle for grocery market share.

Since it posted its full-year results at the end of February, the Ocado share price has come under further pressure over concerns about its ability to grow its revenues, sliding to five-month lows earlier this month. 

The first-quarter figures for its retail business joint venture with Marks & Spencer are encouraging, and have come in at £584m, a rise of 3.4% on last year, while average orders per week have risen 3.6% to 381,000. This has seen the shares rally strongly in opening trade, pushing further away from its recent five-month lows.

Average basket value remained flat, despite a fall in basket size and a rise in active customers to 951,000, a rise of 13.8% year-on-year. This trend continues to show that with ever rising prices, Ocado customers, like a lot of other retailers, are spending more money and getting less. Ocado kept its full-year guidance unchanged.

The winners in the supermarket sales stakes, according to Kantar, have once again been Aldi and Lidl, who both saw 12-week sales rise by over 25%, while both Sainsbury's and Tesco posted gains of 6.9%. Asda's recorded sales growth of 7.3%, while Morrisons was the big loser with a gain of 0.1%. Iceland and Waitrose saw a 9.6% and 2.1% spend gain year-on-year.

With food price inflation now at a new record high of 17.5%, it's quite clear that UK shoppers are spending a lot more money for the same products, while footfall increase at the main grocers suggests that people are shopping around a lot more to secure the lowest price. 

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