Driver shortages hit sales growth at online grocer Ocado

LONDON, Dec 14 (Reuters) - British online grocer Ocado suffered a slow down in retail sales growth in its latest quarter, hurt by a shortage of drivers, it said on Thursday.

Ocado, which last month secured its biggest overseas deal so far - a partnership with French supermarket Groupe Casino , said its retail sales rose 11.6 percent to 373.8 million pounds ($501.6 million) in the 14 weeks to Dec. 3, its fiscal fourth quarter, having increased 13.1 percent in the previous quarter.

Average orders per week increased 11.1 percent to 280,000 and average order size rose 0.3 percent to 106.1 pounds.

"A shortage of capacity, with the lack of drivers in certain locations being the largest factor, restricted our sales growth," said Chief Executive Tim Steiner.

"While this driver shortage has now been largely resolved, there was some short term impact on average orders per week over the period." ($1 = 0.7452 pounds) (Reporting by James Davey; editing by Kate Holton)