First of 20 planned "sheds" to be located outside Cincinnati
CINCINNATI — Kroger Co. has chosen a suburb of its hometown as the site for its first automated customer fulfillment center (CFC). The facility, which is planned for the Cincinnati suburb of Monroe, Ohio, will be the first of 20 that Kroger and partner Ocado plan to build to support the retailer’s online grocery business.
“Kroger is joining with the best partners in the world to co-innovate and leverage technology to redefine the customer experience,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO. “We are incredibly excited to partner with Ocado to transform the industry and deliver on our Restock Kroger vision to serve America through food inspiration and uplift. This Kroger shed, powered by Ocado, will accelerate our ability to provide customers with anything, anytime and anywhere.”
Kroger is investing $55 million to build the CFC – an automated warehouse facility with digital and robotic capabilities, also known as a “shed.” The facility will measure 335,000 square feet and is expected to generate more than 410 new jobs.
Kroger earlier this year announced that it was partnering with Ocado, a leading online grocery retailer in the United Kingdom, to bring the latter’s technology to the United States. Last month the companies signed a master services agreement to further solidify their partnership.
“Ocado is a UK-based company with global ties and advanced digital and robotic capabilities,” Kroger senior vice president of new business development Alex Tosolini said in a statement. “Working together, we will develop the strongest possible supply network to support a seamless customer experience that can serve every person in America. It’s all about building a seamless supply chain to provide our customers with an amazing shopping experience.”
The British online retailer’s Ocado Solutions unit handles partnerships with other retailers, starting with a deal to operate the online business of Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC in the United Kingdom. It has since reached agreements to develop Groupe Casino’s online business in France, Sobeys in Canada and ICA Group’s in Sweden. to develop their online businesses in France, Canada and Sweden respectively. Kroger will be Ocado’s exclusive U.S. partner.
“We are delighted to be supporting Kroger in its efforts to transform the service and value it brings to U.S. customers,” Ocado Solution CEO Luke Jensen said. “Today’s announcement of the first CFC is an important first step to making that happen. It’s all the more exciting that this CFC will serve Kroger’s hometown of Cincinnati.”
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