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Ocado shares tumble on its major warehouse fire report

Lianna Brinded
Head of Yahoo Finance UK
Ocado delivery vans. Photo: Ocado

The Ocado (OCDO.L) share price tumbled by more than 5% in early trading today before rebounding slightly, after the online retailer revealed an electrical fault caused a major warehouse fire.

The Ocado stock price was down around 2% as of 9.20am local time, after the grocer said a fault in a battery prompted a robot to catch fire at its flagship distribution centre in Andover, Hampshire, in February.

The group is famed for its warehouses run by heavy robots, and holds patents on a range of technology.

It said that “an electrical fault at one of the battery charging units at the edge of the ambient storage grid caused the plastic lid on the top of a grocery-carrying robot to catch alight.”

Chart: Yahoo Finance UK

Ocado confirmed that it had taken several steps to eliminate the risk of such an event ever happening again, including the removal of the plastic lid on its robots.

The fire in February raged for four days and caused enormous damage, with orders disrupted, local homes evacuated and more than 300 firefighters involved in extinguishing the blaze.

At the time Ocado apologised to people affected by the incident and predicted a drop in sales because of its reliance on the warehouse, which could process 65,000 orders a week.

READ MORE: Why the new £1.5bn Ocado-M&S tie-up makes sense