Kroger, Ocado Break Ground on 1st Automated Warehouse
Customer fulfillment center in Mentor, Ohio, will be up and running in spring 2021
The Kroger Co. and U.K-based online grocer Ocado have broken ground on an automated customer fulfillment center (CFC) in Monroe, Ohio, the first of 20 CFCs planned in the United States.
The CFC is a high-tech warehouse, referred to as a "shed," with digital and robotic capabilities designed to improve the experience for Kroger customers. The Ohio location is 335,000 square feet, costs $55 million and is bringing more than 400 jobs to the area.
"Kroger is incredibly excited to reach this meaningful milestone in our Restock Krogervision to serve America through food inspiration and uplift," said Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and CEO. "Our partnership with Ocado will introduce transformative ecommerce, fulfillment and logistics technology in the U.S., and bring customers fresher food faster than ever before, accelerating our ability to provide anything, anytime, anywhere."
Kroger entered into an exclusive partnership with Ocado in May 2018 and revealed the Cincinnati-area shed shortly after. The grocer has already announced that its next two CFCs will be in Groveland, Fla., outside Orlando, and the Mid-Atlantic region, before expanding.
"With construction starting for Kroger's first customer fulfillment center in the Cincinnati region, we are now well on the way to a nationwide revolution in how Kroger customers experience ecommerce," said Luke Jensen, CEO of Ocado Solutions. "In a fast-developing landscape for grocery retail, Kroger's determination to continue delivering the best experience for its customers, online as in stores, is unparalleled."
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.