CINCINNATI — The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR), America’s largest grocery retailer, and Ocado (LSE: OCDO), one of the world’s largest dedicated online grocery retailers, today broke ground on America’s first customer fulfillment center (CFC).
“Kroger is incredibly excited to reach this meaningful milestone in our Restock Kroger vision 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’s first CFC – an automated warehouse facility with digital and robotic capabilities, also known as a shed – is being constructed in Monroe, OH. The CFC model will be replicated to serve customers across America. Kroger intends to open 20 CFCs to support its vision to create a seamless customer experience. Two additional sites have been selected in the Central Florida and Mid-Atlantic regions.
Kroger is investing $55 million to build its first shed, which will measure 335,000 square feet and is expected to generate more than 400 new jobs.
“This is a historic moment for our partnership. 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. I am excited that we will shortly bring the world-class innovation of the Ocado Smart Platform to their operations, as well as create exciting opportunities for engineers and technologists across the country to work with Ocado’s cutting edge robotics and automation.”
“Ohio is a premier destination for businesses to grow, and I welcome Kroger and Ocado’s decision to choose the Cincinnati region for this exciting project,” said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. “This is a state-of-the-art facility that represents the intersection of Ohio’s budding tech and food sectors and the next step in advancing Kroger customers’ shopping experiences.”
“The Kroger-Ocado partnership brings advanced technology to Monroe along with the Kroger grocery name that our residents recognize,” said William Brock, Monroe City Manager. “This facility reinforces that Monroe can provide workforce solutions to meet the needs of an innovative company, and we appreciate the investment in our community.”
“Kroger has selected Ryan Companies US, Inc. to design and build the shed, with the design of the Ohio facility serving as a model for future projects,” said Todd Schell, Senior Vice President of Industrial for Ryan Companies. “We are excited that Ryan will partner with Kroger to design and build this innovative and complex facility to support the company’s accelerated growth in grocery ecommerce.”
“Kroger is proud to choose our home state of Ohio as the location for the first-of-its-kind customer fulfillment center in America,” continued McMullen. “We thank Governor Mike DeWine, JobsOhio, REDI and the Monroe City Council for supporting this project. Kroger is committed to helping position Ohio, Cincinnati and our region as landmarks for innovation, further advancing the area’s digital and technology ecosystem.”
In May 2018, Kroger and Ocado announced their alliance to bring Ocado’s innovation and technologies to the U.S.
To view video and photography of a CFC, visit here.
At The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR), we are dedicated to our Purpose: to Feed the Human Spirit™. We are nearly half a million associates who serve nine million customers daily through a seamless digital shopping experience and 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banner names, serving America through food inspiration and uplift, and creating #ZeroHungerZeroWaste communities by 2025. To learn more about us, visit our newsroom and investor relations site.
About Ocado Solutions
Ocado Solutions is responsible for corporate partnerships, providing the Ocado Smart Platform (OSP) as a service to retailers around the world. OSP comprises access to Ocado’s physical infrastructure solutions, running highly efficient warehouse operations for the single pick of products, together with the entire end-to-end proprietary software applications required to operate a world class online grocery business. It is underpinned by Ocado’s proven expertise and experience as a dedicated online grocer in the UK.