Ocado has announced its first-ever interim pre-tax profits.

The online grocer turned the £6.7m deficit it suffered for the first half of last year into gains of £200,000 this time around. Sales rose almost 21% to £296.7m for the 24 weeks to 15 May.

Coinciding with the landmark, Ocado announced a deal with French supermarket giant Carrefour to sell its mid-priced Reflets de France range of 300 products.

Ocado said it had overcome capacity constraints at its distribution centre in Hatfield that led to a slowdown in sales growth in the second quarter. The facility is now able to process 124,000 orders a week.

“We are focused on increasing capacity to meet demand and improve delivery timeliness and order accuracy,” said Ocado chief executive Tim Steiner.

“We are delighted to announce our new supply partnership with Carrefour, an important development in our strategy to offer the broadest and most diverse grocery range to all our customers in the UK.”

The results did little to please the City however, with Ocado shares falling almost 10% this morning, down 18p to 169p.

Ocado is set to face increased competition from next month within the key London battleground, when a non-compete agreement with Waitrose comes to an end. Earlier this year Ocado unveiled its first-ever quarterly profits, although losses for the year as a whole stood at £12.2m.

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