Kroger and U.K. online supermarket operator Ocado have unveiled a site in a Cincinnati suburb as the site of a high-tech customer fulfillment center (CFC). The Ohio facility is a warehouse that has robotic and digital functionality, Kroger said in a press release.
Kroger Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen said in the press release, “We are incredibly excited to partner with Ocado to transform the industry and deliver on our Restock Kroger vision to serve America through food inspiration and uplift. This Kroger shed, powered by Ocado, will accelerate our ability to provide customers with anything, anytime and anywhere.”
The 335,000-square-foot facility, which is called a “shed,” is coming with an investment of $55 million from Kroger. In the press release, the retailer said that the facility could bring in over 410 new jobs. At the same time, the retailer said that it is “planning to open 20 CFCs to support its seamless vision.”
The news comes a few months after Ocado inked a deal with Kroger in which it will be its exclusive partner in the U.S., giving it an entry in the U.S. market. Reuters in May, citing Ocado’s Chief Financial Officer Duncan Tatton-Brown, reported that Ocado’s home delivery platform will be available in the U.S. with the deal.
And, in October, news surfaced that Kroger and Walgreens are teaming up for a grocery pilot to help shoppers retrieve their online orders. Shoppers will be able pick up their supermarket orders at 13 of the pharmacy’s brick-and-mortar locations in the pilot. And Walgreens also plans to offer a selection of private-label Kroger products to its shoppers along with the pilot.
In an announcement at the time, McMullen said, “This concept brings together the best of two great brands to rethink convenience and redefine the way America shops for food.” Following the news, Kroger shares rose by roughly 1 percent during premarket trading.