Ocado has temporarily stopped delivering groceries - here's why

Online retailer Ocado has temporarily closed its website until Saturday to give the company breathing space, as shoppers continue to stockpile goods, despite supermarkets telling them to be more responsible.

CEO Melanie Smith wrote online, "We are very sorry to cause any inconvenience. We’re managing a simply staggering amount of traffic to our website right now and more demand for products and deliveries than we can meet.

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"Our first priority has to be to keep our service up and running and to play our part in feeding the nation."

The move comes as the online supermarket boasted an increase in trading throughout March.

“The impact of higher basket values and order demand, amid growing public concern over the coronavirus, was limited in the (first) quarter, although this has since picked up significantly and growth in the second quarter is so far double that of the first quarter,” said Smith.

Panic buying is leading to shortages

In supermarkets across the UK, aisles are bare of products people deem essential, such as toilet roll, and dried pasta. Many shoppers have turned online to order deliveries of food, which has led to a decrease in delivery slots.

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Customers at major supermarkets are being restricted from bulk buying products like anti-bacterial soaps and hand sanitisers, long-life milk, tinned vegetables, cleaning products, toilet roll, and even pain relief.

Thanks to drivers and to staff

Smith continued by thanking her staff at Ocado who have been working hard to ensure orders go out to those in need.

"I’d also like to take this chance to thank our amazing drivers and warehouse staff who are working tirelessly to deliver groceries to as many people as possible in these uncertain times. Their dedication and hard work is truly amazing," she said.

"Thank you for your patience and understanding at these unprecedented and challenging times."

Ocado aims to open its website back up on Saturday 21 March 2020.