The groundbreaking ceremony in Groveland, Fla., took place July 24
The Kroger Co. and U.K.-based online grocer Ocado have broken ground on their second high-tech customer fulfillment center (CFC) in the United States. The Groveland, Fla., location follows one in Monroe, Ohio, on which construction started in June.
The CFCs, or sheds, have digital and robotic capabilities, and this one is said to cost $55 million. It will measure 375,000 square feet and bring up to 400 new jobs to the area once it becomes operational in 2021.
"Kroger is excited to enter Florida to redefine the customer experience through our industry-leading partnership with Ocado," said Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and CEO. "There's a substantial demand for Kroger products and services in the state, and we're eager to offer a new and seamless experience through the customer fulfillment center, leveraging advanced robotics technology and creative solutions to provide customers with anything, anytime, anywhere."
"This is another significant milestone for Kroger and Ocado, and a big step toward a nationwide revolution in how Kroger customers experience grocery ecommerce," said Tim Steiner, CEO of Ocado Group. "As they enter Florida for the first time, Kroger is breaking ground in more ways than one, and I am delighted to bring Ocado's world-class technology to its operations in such an important market. Our partnership is also creating exciting opportunities for technologists and engineers to work with Ocado's cutting-edge robotics and automation. As this site develops, we look forward to welcoming new talent to our skilled, dedicated and growing teams across the United States."
During the Florida shed groundbreaking, Kroger presented a $10,000 check to the Faith Neighborhood Center Food Bank, a hunger relief agency in the county, to support the grocer's Zero Hunger | Zero Waste plan to end hunger in its communities and eliminate waste across the company by 2025.
Cincinnati-based Kroger operates nearly 2,800 retail food stores under various banner names, employing nearly half a million associates. The retailer landed the No. 2 spot of Progressive Grocer's 2019 Super 50 list of top grocers.