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Ocado Group PLC Sales Rise 21%

Shares in Ocado (LSE: OCDO) dropped by more than 3% in early trade this morning, following the group’s Christmas trading update for the 16 weeks to 1 December 2013.

After the likes of Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Morrisons revealed disappointing figures, Ocado avoided the sector’s negative trend and posted 20.1% growth in its total retail sales, to £271m from £225.7m for the same 16-week period in 2012.

And over Christmas and New Year, the six trading weeks to 5 January 2014 saw growth of 21.3% in total sales, “reflecting extra capacity and strong trading in the seven days up to Christmas”.

Going back to Morrisons, the first deliveries from the Ocado-Morrisons.com tie-up were successfully made on 10 January, with Ocado chief executive officer Tim Steiner commenting: “This has been possible due to the strength of our best-in-class technology platform.”

CEO Steiner went on to say:

“We are pleased with the progress in our underlying trading reflecting the further improvements to our proposition to customers and consumers’ increasing desire to shop online for their groceries.

“While we are encouraged by this current trading, the retail environment remains both challenging and competitive, with consumer sentiment subdued, and we expect to continue growing broadly in line with, or slightly ahead of, the market.

Following Ocado’s mammoth 500% rise in the last 12 months, this morning’s dip looks to be a case of investors banking profits.

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> Sam does not own shares in any company mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares in Tesco and has recommended shares in Morrisons.