Online grocer Ocado is continuing to suffer from the fire which destroyed its Andover depot last year, reporting a pre-tax loss of £214.5m for 2019.

The retailer’s latest annual results to 1 December 2019 reveal losses that are almost five times higher than the £44m loss the company made in the previous year.

Ocado said exceptional charges of £94.1m, most of which were due to the Andover fire, were to blame for the size of the pre-tax losses in the year.

Despite the impact of the Andover fire, Ocado delivered a 10.3% rise in retail revenue in the period, which it said makes it the fastest growing grocer in the UK.

Group revenue rose 9.9% to £1.8bn (2018: £1.6bn), largely driven by the performance of its retail division which saw revenue rise to £1.6bn.

Ocado’s UK Solutions and Logistics division, which provides services to the firm’s joint ventures with M&S and Morrisons, also saw turnover rise, up almost 8% in the year to £583.2m (2018: £541.1m).

The division also reported earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of £84.8m, up from £67m the previous year.

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However the company warned that UK Solutions and Logistics revenue will take a hit this year from the deal Ocado made with Morrisons following the Andover fire to temporarily suspend its access to space in Ocado’s new Erith customer fulfilment centre (CFC) in exchange for lower store pick fees and no costs recharges from the warehouse.

Looking ahead, Ocado Group said its joint venture deal with M&S, which was sealed in August last year, is set to replace its partnership deal with Waitrose, which was up for renewal.

The company said preparations for the September switchover from Waitrose to M&S products are “well underway”, claiming that M&S has substitutes “at the same price or lower, and of the same quality or better, for the majority of those currently supplied by Waitrose”.

The new joint venture will see M&S food available to customers online for the first time.

Other major moves over the year include Ocado Solution deals with major retailers Coles in Australia and Aeon in Japan, reflecting the company’s push into international markets.

Ocado is also planning to open CFCs for Groupe Casino in Paris and for Sobeys in Toronto this year with further sites in the US, the UK, Sweden and Canada “in various stages of construction”.

Chief executive Tim Steiner said the results demonstrated strong momentum.

"Although statutory results reflected a combination of factors, including the impact of the Andover fire, the underlying performance of Ocado Retail and the successful growth of Ocado Solutions were very encouraging," he said