Ocado suffered pre-tax losses of more than £12m in 2010, marking another 12 months in the red.

Pre-tax losses for the year to 28 November were down 52% to £12.2m, including £3.5m in fees relating to its stock market flotation.

Total sales for the year were up 29% to £551.1m. Ocado also recorded its first-ever quarterly profit in the final three months of the year, with fourth-quarter earnings of £0.3m.

The retailer said growth was driven by a substantial increase in orders per week, offset by a slight dip in average order size. The number of active customers increased by 19% to 262,258.

Despite the latest yearly loss, chief executive Tim Steiner said 2010 was a “landmark year” for Ocado.

“We have delivered on the targets set out at the flotation,” he said.

“We have continued our focus on improving the customer offer, which has led to a record number of customers and sales with the achievement of profitability in the final quarter. Our growth continues to outpace the market.”

Chief financial officer Andrew Bracey added: “Achieving profitability clearly demonstrates the operational leverage of the Ocado model.”

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