June 27, 2011, 2:46 PM

Web sales for Ocado grow 21% in the first six months of fiscal 2011

The U.K. web grocer also posted an operating profit of 2.7 million pounds ($4.3 million).

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It was a pretty good first half of the year for British web grocer Ocado Group Plc.

Sales were up by a healthy margin and the retailer, No. 19 in the Internet Retailer Top 300 Europe, also posted an operating profit after a long string of losses.

For the first half of the 2011 fiscal year ended May 15, Ocado reported:

• Sales increased 20.8% to 296.7 million pounds ($474.2 million) from 245.6 million ($392.5 million) in the first half of fiscal 2010.

• Operating profit totaled 2.4 million pounds ($3.8 million) compared with a net loss of 2.7 million pounds ($4.3 million) in the previous year.

• Total weekly orders increased 22.6% to 108,350 from 88,407.

• Average ticket was essentially flat at 114.9 pounds ($183.62)

• The company increased the number of private-label items offered to its customers in the United Kingdom to 350 products from 250 products.

“Strong customer demand for the Ocado service delivered profitable growth, limited only by our operational capacity,” says CEO Tim Steiner.

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