Plans call for 20 customer fulfillment centers in next few years
Construction is slated to start later this year, with an opening date of 2021.
Kroger and Ocado intend to build 20 such facilities over the next few years, using Ocado’s automated fulfillment technology to enhance and expand Kroger’s home delivery capabilities. The first center will operate in the Cincinnati suburb of Monroe, Ohio. Kroger last month identified central Florida and the Mid-Atlantic region as additional sites.
“Through our strategic partnership, we are leveraging advanced robotics technology and creative solutions to redefine the customer experience across America,” Alex Tosolini, Kroger’s senior vice president of new business development, said in a statement.
Kroger operates 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banners and an e-commerce platform that together serve nearly 9 million customers a day. The company last year took a stake in Ocado, one of the world’s largest dedicated online grocery retailers, with the aim of developing solutions that would allow for a significant expansion of its digital grocery operations.
The partnership agreement calls for Ocado to provide Kroger with its enabling platform, Ocado Smart Platform, which it provides as a service to retailers.
Kroger and Ocado said their agreement provides Kroger with access to Ocado solutions and products for developing and running highly efficient warehouse operations for the single pick of products, together with the entire end-to-end proprietary software applications required to operate an online grocery business — from user interfaces, through warehouse operating and control systems, to logistics, route planning and optimization.
Once built, the Groveland fulfillment center is expected to employ 400 people.