British online supermarket Ocado Retail stuck to its full-year outlook recently as it reported a step-up in third quarter revenue growth, helped by a return to growth in the number of items sold in the last month of the period.
The 50/50 joint venture between Ocado Group and Marks & Spencer, said it had also started its fourth quarter "positively".
Britain's consumers have largely defied high inflation and rising borrowing costs to keep up their spending in 2023, but there are signs that the economy is weakening.
Ocado Retail said revenue rose 7.2% to £569.6 million in the 13 weeks to 27 August, accelerating from growth of 5% in the first half.
It said the outcome reflected a 1.5% rise in active customers to 961,000 at the end of the quarter, with average orders per week up 1.9% year-on-year to 381,000 and average basket value up 4.2% at £120.7.
The joint venture's average selling price was up 8.4%.
It noted this was lower than market inflation, which is running at 12.2% according to the latest industry data.
Since June, Ocado Retail has reduced the prices of more than 630 items.
Shares in Ocado Group, which have swung wildly in recent months, were up 1.7% in early trading, whilewere up 1.3%.
Ocado Retail said it still expected to report 'mid-single digit' revenue growth and 'marginally positive' core earnings, or EBITDA, for its 2022-23 year, versus a loss of £4 million in the previous year.
There has been tension between Ocado Group and M&S.
In July, M&S chairman Archie Norman told investors he was "not happy" with Ocado Retail's performance and Ocado Group CEO Tim Steiner said it was "disappointing" that the joint venture, formed in 2019, was not where both partners wanted it to be.
Read More: Britain's Ocado Retail Cuts Prices Again