By Denna Bowman
Online grocer Ocado is fitting its entire delivery fleet with special winter tyres to beat the Arctic weather conditions blighting the UK.
It is costing Ocado, which has a deal to sell Waitrose food online, £300,000 to fit the winter tyres to its fleet of more than 630 vans so that they can operate in temperatures down to minus 30C.
Ocado says the move is the first of its kind in the UK and that the tyres will provide the vehicles with improved grip, enabling them to navigate snow and ice safely.
Tim Steiner, chief executive of Ocado, said: “We have been very pleased with our ability to deal with the extremely heavy snowfall over the past few weeks.”
Ocado, which is considering a possible flotation this year, enjoyed soaring sales over the Christmas period.
In the first trading update covering the vital peak trading period by any retailer, Ocado said that sales rose 30 per cent during December, with the week ending on Boxing Day up 49 per cent to £8.9 million, despite the disruption to deliveries brought by the snow.
The forward-thinking online firm has been voted The Grocer magazine’s Online Retailer of the Year twice in the past four years.