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Waitrose launches new distribution centre to double orders in London

Waitrose is opening a new distribution centre in London which it says will allow it to double its grocery orders in the city.

The six-acre site, located in Enfield in North London, will support 13,000 weekly delivery slots.

It will initially have a workforce of 370, which will expand to 850 when at full capacity.

Waitrose.com director Ben Stimson said: “Before coronavirus, Waitrose.com was already going through a period of significant expansion, with investment across our infrastructure and website.

“Enfield was planned as a big part of our expansion plans – but in fact it is now also helping us respond as best we can to the huge demand for online slots – especially from our most vulnerable customers.

“One thing that recent weeks have highlighted to us is the importance of online retail to vulnerable people. Our shops have always been firmly rooted in their communities but through these challenging times our Partners working in shops and delivering grocery orders have been at the forefront of trying to respond to these needs in a way we couldn’t have imagined.”

GM of the Enfield centre, Paul Shanks, says “There has been a Herculean effort across many teams in preparation for launch – the team has worked tirelessly through such unprecedented times, reacting, embracing and evolving to ensure we remain on track. To have played a part in that has been great.”

The new distribution centre will work alongside Waitrose’s site in Coulsdon.

Waitrose is investing £100 million in its online offering ahead of its partnership with Ocado coming to an end in September. It is working with Today Development Partners (TDP) as an automation partner in its distribution centres.

The grocer has been expanding the coverage and capacity of its same-day grocery delivery service as the coronavirus pandemic drives a spike in online grocery demand.

The Rapid Delivery service, which promises delivery in under two hours or a one-hour timeslot on the same day, is now available within the vicinities of a further 20 stores across the UK capital. This means the service is available to 2.5 million households with 7000 available slots per week.

The supermarket is also ramping up its click and collect offering, adding 10,000 more slots to bring the total up to 30,000 by rolling the service out to 70 additional shops across the UK by the end of May.