CINCINNATI — The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR), America’s largest grocery retailer, today announced it will offer more customers Kroger Delivery through the addition of new Kroger fulfillment centers powered by the Ocado Group, combining vertical integration, machine learning, and robotics to provide an affordable, friendly, and fast fresh food delivery service.
“Kroger Delivery is a thriving part of our dynamic ecosystem and is transforming grocery e-commerce and meeting a range of customer needs through the introduction of first-of-its-kind technology in the U.S. developed by Ocado,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO. “Kroger’s growing seamless ecosystem continues to scale, and we’re committed to doubling both our digital sales and profitability rate by the end of 2023 and Kroger Delivery will help us reach this target.
“We feel great about the momentum we’re experiencing with Kroger Delivery and our partnership with Ocado and are strategically leveraging our assets to expand our operations in existing regions as well as enter new geographies on the East Coast that leverage facilities across a growing range of sizes,” continued McMullen.
The organization will share more insights about its plans for the Northeast, California, and Florida, including customer coverage areas, job creation, facility sizes and timing, in the coming months but today is highlighting the following.
Kroger will enter the Northeast for the first time, offering Kroger Delivery enabled by a customer fulfillment center (CFC). The facility will meet the need for same-day and next-day grocery delivery demand.
Kroger will expand its existing operations and boost capacity in California with the addition of two CFCs. The medium and smaller-sized facilities will meet the need for same-day and next-day grocery delivery demand.
Kroger Delivery launched in Central Florida earlier this year, and the operation has ramped up faster than expected, unlocking additional ways of executing and operating and resulting in high customer repeat rates and net promoter scores.
To continue driving momentum, Kroger will enter South Florida and introduce two smaller-sized fulfillment facilities. These will join the already live CFC in Groveland as well as “spoke” sites in Jacksonville and Tampa. It will also mark the introduction of two automated local fulfillment centers with Ocado, enabling Kroger Delivery to serve customers as fast as 30 minutes with a selection of 10,000 fresh food items and essentials, and to deliver same-day and next-day orders with 35,000 items.
“The acceleration of Kroger Delivery continues with these new facilities and our continued focus on creating career opportunities and serving customers through interconnected, automated and innovative fulfillment models that cater to different and accretive grocery shopper missions in both new and existing geographies,” said Gabriel Arreaga, Kroger’s senior vice president and chief supply chain officer. “We have a pipeline of sites in development across the U.S., with several scheduled to open next year, and we’re excited to continue delivering the Kroger experience to more doorsteps.”
“I am delighted that we’re bringing Ocado’s world-leading technology to Kroger customers across the U.S.,” said Luke Jensen, CEO of Ocado Solutions. “The Northeast is another new geography for Kroger, and we’re excited to enter it with them. Moreover, with the addition of fulfillment centers in Southern California, our partnership is truly revolutionizing the U.S. grocery online landscape from coast to coast.
“Kroger is also leveraging the full breadth of Ocado’s fulfillment capabilities to meet the growing range of customer wants and demands. Alongside the current rollout of our automated facilities and software to optimize fulfillment in stores for curbside pickup, today’s announcement of a further CFC in Florida and the introduction of our first ‘Zoom’ micro fulfillment site in the U.S., serving the immediacy market, is a testament to the breadth and flexibility of the offering we are helping to bring to Kroger shoppers. These fulfillment centers will also benefit from significant upstream efficiencies, with the existing CFC in Groveland able to act as a major supply hub into the new Florida sites.”
Kroger Delivery currently operates CFCs in Groveland, FL and Monroe, OH and in addition to the newly announced five facilities, Kroger Delivery is slated to open previously announced sites in Dallas, TX; Forest Park, GA (Atlanta); Frederick, MD; Phoenix, AZ; Pleasant Prairie, WI; Romulus, MI (Detroit); and sites in the South, West and Pacific Northwest. As the Kroger Delivery network expands, Kroger will announce new facilities and plans.
At The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR), we are Fresh for Everyone™ and dedicated to our Purpose: To Feed the Human Spirit®. We are, across our family of companies, nearly half a million associates who serve over 11 million customers daily through a seamless shopping experience under a variety of banner names. We are committed to creating #ZeroHungerZeroWaste communities by 2025. To learn more about us, visit our newsroom and investor relations site.
About Ocado Group
Ocado Group is a UK based technology company admitted to trading on the London Stock Exchange (Ticker OCDO). It provides end-to-end online grocery fulfilment solutions to some of the world’s largest grocery retailers and holds a 50% share of Ocado Retail Ltd in the UK in a Joint Venture with Marks & Spencer. Ocado has spent two decades innovating for grocery online, investing in a wide technology estate that includes robotics, AI & machine learning, simulation, forecasting, and edge intelligence.
This press release contains certain statements that constitute “forward-looking statements” about the future performance of the company. These statements are based on management’s assumptions and beliefs in light of the information currently available to it. Such statements are indicated by words or phrases such as “committed,” “feel,” “will,” “target,” and “continue.” Various uncertainties and other factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements. These include the specific risk factors identified in “Risk Factors” in our annual report on Form 10-K for our last fiscal year and any subsequent filings, as well as the following:
Kroger’s ability to achieve sales, earnings, and incremental FIFO operating profit goals may be affected by: COVID-19 pandemic related factors, risks and challenges, including among others, the length of time that the pandemic continues, new variants of the virus, lack of access to vaccines for certain populations and the extent of vaccine aversion, as well as the effect of emerging targeted vaccine mandates and booster vaccines, the potential for additional future spikes in infection and illness rates including breakthrough infections among the fully vaccinated, and the corresponding potential for disruptions in workforce availability and customer shopping patterns, re-imposed restrictions as a result of resurgence and the corresponding future easing of restrictions, and interruptions in domestic and global supply chains or capacity constraints; the pace of recovery when the pandemic subsides; labor negotiations or disputes; changes in the unemployment rate; pressures in the labor market; changes in government-funded benefit programs; changes in the types and numbers of businesses that compete with Kroger; pricing and promotional activities of existing and new competitors, including non-traditional competitors, and the aggressiveness of that competition; Kroger’s response to these actions; the state of the economy, including interest rates, the inflationary and deflationary trends in certain commodities; changes in tariffs; the effect that fuel costs have on consumer spending; volatility of fuel margins; manufacturing commodity costs; diesel fuel costs related to Kroger’s logistics operations; trends in consumer spending; the extent to which Kroger’s customers exercise caution in their purchasing in response to economic conditions; the uncertainty of economic growth or recession; changes in inflation or deflation in product and operating costs; stock repurchases; Kroger’s ability to retain pharmacy sales from third party payors; consolidation in the healthcare industry, including pharmacy benefit managers; Kroger’s ability to negotiate modifications to multi-employer pension plans; natural disasters or adverse weather conditions; the effect of public health crises or other significant catastrophic events, including the coronavirus; the potential costs and risks associated with potential cyber-attacks or data security breaches; the success of Kroger’s future growth plans; the ability to execute our growth strategy and value creation model, including continued cost savings, growth of our alternative profit businesses, and widening and deepening our strategic moats of fresh, our brands, personalization, and seamless; and the successful integration of merged companies and new partnerships. Our ability to achieve these goals may also be affected by our ability to manage the factors identified above. Our ability to execute our financial strategy may be affected by our ability to generate cash flow.
Kroger assumes no obligation to update the information contained herein unless required by applicable law. Please refer to Kroger’s reports and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a further discussion of these risks and uncertainties.