Loss widened at Deliveroo ahead of lockdown boom

Loss widened at British delivery company Deliveroo last year, as the business invested heavily in expansion.

Roofoods, which owns Deliveroo, said that its pre-tax loss had hit £318 million, up from £243 million the year before.

Revenue increased by 62% to £772 million, though the rate of growth slowed somewhat from the 72% jump that Deliveroo experienced in 2018.

However, the figures cover the year to the end of December 2019, so do not take into account the massive boom that Deliveroo and other food deliverers have seen amid lockdown in 2020.

“Clearly the world has changed substantially since the end of 2019, with the outbreak of Covid-19 significantly altering both our own company and the wider food delivery sector over the course of 2020,” the company said in its annual accounts.

The company has teamed up with major supermarkets during the pandemic, to offer delivery of groceries, as well as restaurant-prepared food.

It is likely to be dealing with even more orders as large parts of the UK are currently under strict Covid-19 measures.

“In the UK in particular, as parts of the country move in and out of Tier 3, restaurants may continue to see periods when delivery or takeaway are the only sources of income,” the company said.

Last week it was announced that London would be put into a new Tier 4 category.

Chief executive Will Shu said: “This year we have seen rapid consumer adoption of online food delivery, with more people ordering more frequently.

“Covid has accelerated strong underlying trends and there is an enormous opportunity ahead.”

Earlier this year, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it would allow US web giant Amazon to take a 16% stake in Deliveroo as part of a 575 million dollar (£433 million) fundraising round.

It initially gave the deal the green light as there were concerns over if the company would collapse without Amazon’s money.

However, later the CMA reassessed the situation, saying that Deliveroo was no longer at risk, but allowed the deal to go ahead anyway.

The deal returned Deliveroo’s balance sheet to a net asset position, the company said.