Kroger's newest warehouse near Columbus, Ohio, will leverage Ocado's technology to fulfill customer orders.
The Kroger Co. is set to open a 61,000-square-foot facility in Lockbourne, Ohio, that will service the central region of the state in collaboration with a fulfillment hub already located near the grocer’s hometown of Cincinnati. The spoke facility will be powered by Ocado Group and also serve as a last-mile cross-dock location to serve customers up to 200 miles away.
"We're proud to expand the Kroger fulfillment network in our home state," said Gabriel Arreaga, Kroger's SVP and chief supply chain officer. "The new service is an innovative addition to the expanding digital shopping experience available to Kroger customers. Our delivery business continues to accelerate with the growth of fulfillment and spoke facilities. This expansion will further our commitment to create career opportunities and serve shoppers fresh food fast through interconnected, automated, and last-mile solutions across America."
When it reaches full capacity, the facility will employ 200 people and service 250 ZIP codes in Central Ohio. Customers in the area will also be able to use the Boost by Kroger Plus service, which provides access to benefits like free delivery and 2 Fuel Points for every $1 spent on groceries and general merchandise purchases. The program costs $59 or $99 per year.
"When our customers think of food, they think of Kroger,” continued Arreaga. "The addition of a spoke facility in the Columbus division is one more state-of-the-art example of how Kroger is fulfilling its commitment to providing our customers anything, anywhere, anytime."
"We are proud that the nation's largest grocery retailer is headquartered in Ohio, where Kroger continues to evolve its national growth strategy," said J.P. Nauseef, Jobs Ohio president and CEO. "This new, cutting-edge spoke facility in the Columbus region will connect more people to fresh food, create hundreds of jobs, and bolster efficiencies for Kroger customers in Ohio."
As of April, Kroger now has 2,200 locations that offer online grocery pickup, 2,500 locations that offer delivery, and at least 17 of these warehouses that it’s planning to open by 2023. The grocer is leveraging these customer fulfillment centers to enter new geographies without opening physical supermarkets. Kroger recently revealed it will offer grocery delivery in such new markets for the company as Alabama, Texas and California.
Serving 60 million households annually nationwide through a digital shopping experience, and almost 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banner names, Cincinnati-based Kroger is No. 4 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.