Here's Where Kroger's Ocado Strategy Is Going Next
The Kroger Co. is accelerating its online grocery strategy by opening a sixth Customer Fulfillment Center (CFC), this time in Wisconsin.
At the core of the company’s strategy is its partnership with Ocado. A deal announced in May 2018 called for the construction of 20 highly automated grocery CFCs. Eighteen months later, five locations have been identified, two are under construction and now another one is breaking ground in Pleasant Prairie, Wis.
"Kroger is incredibly excited to construct one of our industry-leading Customer Fulfillment Centers in Pleasant Prairie, Wis., in relationship with Ocado to bring fresh food to our customers faster than ever before," said Robert Clark, Kroger's senior vice president of supply chain, manufacturing and sourcing. "Through our strategic partnership, we are engineering a model for the region, leveraging advanced robotics technology and creative solutions to redefine the customer experience for our customers in Wisconsin and Illinois."
Kroger has partnered with Ocado to accelerate its ability to provide customers with anything, anytime, anywhere. In June, Kroger broke ground on its first CFC in Monroe, Ohio, and has since announced additional locations in Florida, Georgia, Texas, and in the mid-Atlantic region.
"We are excited to bring Kroger and Ocado's latest automated warehouse to Pleasant Prairie. As this site develops and goes live, it will be instrumental in delivering fantastic grocery experiences and exciting job opportunities to households across Chicago, Milwaukee and beyond," said Luke Jensen, CEO of Ocado Solutions. "Today's announcement marks another big milestone on the road to developing a seamless fulfilment ecosystem for Kroger customers across the United States. Ocado's proven technology will allow Kroger to achieve the lowest cost-to-serve in the market, combined with the best freshness, accuracy and service."
The Pleasant Prairie CFC will measure 350,000 square feet and is expected to create up to 400 new jobs.
"This project expands Kroger's commitment to continued investment in Wisconsin and Illinois. With this cutting-edge technology, Kroger is confident our partnership with Ocado will play an integral role in the continued commerce growth of this dynamic region," added Michael Marx, Kroger Roundy's president. "This transformative fulfillment center will create local jobs and accelerate Kroger's ability to expand our products and services to a larger footprint, providing customers with anything, anytime, anywhere."
The CFC will become operational 24 months after the site breaks ground and will serve customers in Wisconsin, northern Illinois and northwest Indiana.
Cincinnati-based Kroger employs nearly half a million associates who serve 9 million-plus customers daily through a seamless digital shopping experience and 2,769 retail food stores under a variety of banner names. The company is No. 2 on Progressive Grocer’s 2019 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.