Driver shortages knock sales growth at online grocer Ocado

Online grocer Ocado has revealed a hit to sales growth after a shortage of drivers knocked trading.

The group said retail revenue growth slowed to 11.6% in its fourth quarter to December 3, down from 13.1% in the previous three months.

It said growth in average orders slowed to 11.1%, with 280,000 deliveries a week in the quarter due to the driver shortage.

It comes as the boom in online shopping is causing soaring demand for drivers, with the Freight Transport Association also recently reporting a shortage of drivers and pay rising to attract staff.

Ocado boss Tim Steiner said: "A shortage of capacity, with the lack of drivers in certain locations being the largest factor, restricted our sales growth.

"While this driver shortage has now been largely resolved, there was some short term impact on average orders per week over the period."

The group reported revenues of £373.8 million for its fourth quarter, while it said rising inflation saw the average order size remain largely stable at £106.11 - a rise of 0.3%.