Ocado shares drop after second warehouse fire

Tom Belger
Finance and policy reporter
Ocado is an online supermarket and technology company. Photo: PA

Shares in Ocado (OCDO.L) have fallen and some deliveries were cancelled after a blaze at its warehouse in south-east London, in the second fire to hit the company this year.

The online supermarket and technology company’s share price was down 2.3% at 8.25am.

It took 25 firefighters from three fire stations more than three hours to bring the fire under control, but Ocado said the blaze at its Erith facility had been “small.”

The fire forced the company to cancel “some customer orders,” which were re-booked for Friday. The blaze began just after 7pm on Wednesday night , and was extinguished shortly after 10pm.

It comes only a week after it was reported that Ocado has a patent for a fire-fighting robot.

A major blaze destroyed its former flagship robotic warehouse in Andover in February this year.

Firefighters at the scene of the Ocado robotic warehouse in Andover in February. Photo: PA

Ocado said none of its equipment was involved in the latest fire, and the fire service said the cause was still “under investigation.”

But a conveyor belt and “external motor” were damaged, according to the local fire service. One sprinkler helped to suppress the flames.

A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: “This incident highlights the clear benefits of sprinklers to businesses and we would urge all companies and business owners to install them.

“As well as limiting fire damage and being potentially life saving devices, sprinklers and other fire suppression systems help with business continuity by minimising disruption and allowing businesses to get back to normal as soon as possible.”

READ MORE: Ocado slides to £142.8m loss after Andover warehouse fire

The company recently confirmed it had suffered a £142.8m loss because of the fire in Andover, but said it was confident of increasing sales by up to 15% in the second half of 2019.

It also signed a £750m delivery deal with M&S earlier this year that will take effect from September 2020, replacing its sourcing deal with Waitrose.

One analyst said last month it had “largely shrugged off” the first blaze in Andover, which was started by an electrical fault.