Kroger Names Next 2 Locations for Ocado-Powered Automated Fulfillment Centers
The Kroger Co. has named the country's next two customer fulfillment centers in its partnership with U.K. online grocer Ocado.
Central Florida and the Mid-Atlantic will host the new facilities, automated warehouses with digital robotics capabilities – aka "sheds." Last November, Kroger announced its first center in the Cincinnati suburb of Monroe, Ohio, which is also home to one of two stores testing Kroger's new digital shelf tags, an innovation to which test shoppers have so far responded well.
"Kroger is excited to partner with Ocado – one of the most innovative, advanced companies in the world – to redefine the grocery shopping experience for customers along the East Coast," said Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and CEO. "We are incredibly excited to introduce customer fulfillment centers in this region to deliver on our Restock Kroger vision to serve America through food inspiration and uplift."
Kroger has committed to building 20 customer fulfillment centers that are powered by Ocado to accelerate its ability to provide customers with anything, anytime and anywhere. The facilities' model will be replicated to serve customers across America.
"We will co-innovate with Ocado to develop the best possible experiences for our customers, leveraging advanced robotics technology and creative solutions," said Alex Tosolini, Kroger's SVP of new business development.
Added Luke Jensen, CEO of Ocado Solutions: "This announcement marks another important step toward combining Kroger's long-standing dedication to innovative and world-class grocery services with Ocado's unique, industry-leading technology. As the U.S. retail landscape continues to change, these [centers] will play a crucial role in helping Kroger offer its customers a superior online shopping experience in these two major markets."
Last month, McMullen presented his perspective on the importance of partnerships to Kroger's model of transforming grocery and its own operations at Retail's Big Show 2019, hosted in New York by the National Retail Federation. He specifically mentioned Ocado as one of the partners helping the grocer move into the new era of automated grocery retail.
The Kroger Co. operates a seamless digital shopping experience and 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banner names nationwide. The Cincinnati-based company is No. 2 on Progressive Grocer's 2018 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States. It was also named PG's 2018 Retailer of the Year.