Kroger and Ocado expand partnership

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

Ocado Group and The Kroger Family of Companies are expanding their partnership, with plans to construct a new automated fulfillment centre in the southern U.S.

The new facility will measure 200,000 square feet. The exact location and construction dates of the new facility will be announced soon.

The newly named location will complement Kroger’s previously announced CFC sites in Monroe, Ohio; Groveland, Florida; Frederick, Maryland; Atlanta, Georgia; Dallas, Texas; Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin; and the Great Lakes, Pacific Northwest and West regions. The first two CFC sites – in Monroe, a suburb of Cincinnati, and Groveland – in early 2021.

Kroger will also be rolling out Ocado’s fulfillment software in its stores. With increasing in-store order picking, the AI-enabled software helps assemble orders and makes it easier and more efficient for staff to find products when fulfilling customer pickup orders.

Luke Jensen, CEO of Ocado Solutions said, “Grocery e-commerce has reached a critical trajectory in 2020. More consumers are shopping for food online than ever before, and the USA has seen a rapid, sustained expansion of the channel.”

In Canada, Empire Company Limited has invested heavily in Ocado technology, with four distribution centres coming online. The grocer also uses the in-store fulfillment software to facilitate grocery pick-up services in regions not served by the automated DCs.

Beginning this past June, Empire opened its Ocado fulfillment centre in Vaughan, Ontario. Robots there assemble orders, resulting in minimal product handling, while human drivers deliver orders directly to the customer’s home.