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Ocado to expand to three new US locations

Kroger

Kroger has announced three new locations where it will deploy Ocado’s automated fulfilment centre technology.

The new sites will be situated in the West, Pacific Northwest and Great Lakes regions, sized at 300,000; 200,000 and 150,000 square feet respectively.

The distribution centres will use Ocado’s smart platform, a robotic grid which automatically picks groceries for orders.

They will complement the six sites Kroger has already announced. The site in Monroe, Ohio, (pictured above) is set to open in early 2021.

Robert Clark, Kroger’s senior vice president of supply chain, manufacturing and sourcing, said: “Through our strategic partnership, we are engineering a model for these regions, leveraging advanced robotics technology and creative solutions to redefine the customer experience.”

Luke Jensen, CEO of Ocado Solutions, said: “Kroger and Ocado are building an ecommerce ecosystem across the U.S. that will deliver unrivalled online experiences to more customers, in more ways and in more markets.

“Spanning a range of automated CFC sizes, these three new sites will be key parts of this growing and flexible fulfilment network. Alongside the scale and wider benefits of larger CFCs, smaller format and mini CFCs will allow Kroger to reach more geographies with Ocado’s automation, while also catering to a wide range of options for delivery.”

Ocado originally developed its platform for use in its own UK grocery operation but has since sold it to grocers in other countries such as Kroger, Casino in France and Coles in Australia.

Its first distribution centres in other countries launched earlier this year in France for Casino and in Canada for supermarket chain Empire.

The technology hugely reduces the costs of fulfilling orders by mostly automating the process. However, unlike traditional supermarkets, Ocado cannot increase the capacity of the platform simply by hiring more staff, as the automation technology has an upper limit for how many orders it can sort.

This meant that Ocado was initially unable to meet the surge in demand from customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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