The Kroger Co. and online grocery retailer Ocado Solutions took another step forward in their plans to build a series of highly automated customer fulfillment centers (CFC) in the United States, breaking ground on its first CFC in Monroe, Ohio, the companies said June 12.
Located in suburban Cincinnati, the CFC—also called a "shed"—is a highly automated warehouse facility that incorporates digital and robotic capabilities. Britain-based Ocado operates similar facilities across the United Kingdom; the Kroger/Ocado partnership will replicate the sheds in America, with plans to eventually open 20 sites across the country. The Monroe, Ohio, facility will be operational in the spring of 2021 and will create 400 new jobs in the region, the companies said.
"Our partnership with Ocado will introduce transformative e-commerce, 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," Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and CEO, said in a statement announcing the start of construction.
Kroger said it is investing $55 million to build its first shed, which will measure 335,000 square feet. The companies said they will open a second facility in Groveland, Fla., outside of Orlando, with a third to be built in the mid-Atlantic region.