Supermarket chain The Kroger Co. and its automation partner Ocado plc plan to build two automated customer fulfillment centers (CFCs) on the East Coast, the companies said today.
The high-tech warehouse facilities are part of Cincinnati-based Kroger's plan to build 20 CFCs nationwide to accommodate a rise in online grocery shopping and omnichannel business. The two newest centers will be located in Central Florida and the Mid-Atlantic, and follow the company's announcement last November that it will open its first such center in suburban Cincinnati.
"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," Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and CEO said in a prepared statement.
Kroger's CFCs are powered by Ocado, a British online grocery retailer and technology company. The CFC model is an automated warehouse facility with digital and robotic capabilities, also known as a "shed," that will be replicated to serve customers across the country, Kroger has said. Each shed will operate on Ocado's Ocado Smart Platform (OSP) suite, which runs highly efficient warehouse operations for the single pick of products, together with applications ranging from user interfaces, through warehouse operating and control systems, logistics, route planning, and optimization, according to the companies.
"Kroger is developing the retail model of the future through our exciting partnership with Ocado, a UK-based company with global ties," said Alex Tosolini, Kroger's senior vice president of new business development. "We will co-innovate with Ocado to develop the best possible experiences for our customers, leveraging advanced robotics technology and creative solutions."