(Bloomberg)—Ocado Group Plc, No. 25 in the Digital Commerce 360 Europe 500, has temporarily closed its website as it struggles to cope with demand from shoppers trying to stockpile groceries.
The U.K. online grocer closed its site until Saturday as it faces a “simply staggering amount of traffic” and is trying to catch up with orders. The site also won’t accept new customers for the time being because it wouldn’t be able to keep up.
The closure will allow the company to “complete essential work that will help to make sure distribution of products and delivery slots is as fair and as accessible as possible,” Melanie Smith, chief executive officer of Ocado Retail, said in a statement.
Growing fears about the new coronavirus pandemic have prompted stockpiling, even though the British government and grocers have reassured consumers that there is enough food to go around. Ocado said basket sizes have been increasing, with growth in the second quarter so far at twice the rate of the first. The website now has a system by which customers wait in line to be able to order.
Britain’s two biggest supermarkets—Tesco Plc (No. 4) and J Sainsbury Plc (No. 2)—have recently introduced limits of three items on grocery products in an effort to try to ease the pressure on their supply chains. Other grocers have also introduced rationing. Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc said this week that it planned to hire more workers as it expands its home delivery service to meet demand.
Ocado said its retail revenue had risen 10% in the 13 weeks to March 1. The real surge in demand came since then.Favorite