Wednesday 20 February 2019

Ocado warns over hit to sales after warehouse fire

Online grocery Ocado
Online grocery Ocado
Independent.ie Business Desk

Independent.ie Business Desk

UK-based online grocer Ocado has warned over a hit to sales after a huge fire swept through its robotic warehouse in Hampshire.

The fire that broke out at an Ocado warehouse in Andover more than 24 hours ago has been declared a major incident as it continues to burn.

Around 200 firefighters have been tackling the blaze which broke out at 2.44am on Tuesday morning.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service said four of its firefighters had been treated for slight smoke inhalation.

"Part of the roof has now collapsed and the fire in the complex robot-run distribution centre is still ongoing," the fire service said.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service tweeted that the fire had been brought under control.

"The #OcadoFire is now under control and is no longer a major incident #Andover #Ocado", the service said.

The online grocer said in a stock market update: "Unfortunately the fire which started yesterday morning in a corner of the ambient grid was not contained as we believed, and last night expanded.

"Whilst we are informed by the fire brigade that it is now under control, during the night part of the roof collapsed and there has been substantial damage to the majority of the building and its contents.

"Once we have had time to assess the damage and prepare a plan to return the customer fulfilment centre to operation, we will update further as appropriate.

"As Andover was providing approximately 10pc of our current capacity, as a result of this incident there will be a constraint on our ability to meet our growing customer demand and there will be a reduction in sales growth until we can increase capacity elsewhere."

Ocado shares were down nearly 6pc at 977p in morning trade.

The firm said it has "comprehensive" insurance for the property, stock and equipment on site, and for business interruption losses.

No-one has been injured as a result of the fire, Ocado said.

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