Kroger is expanding its ecommerce push with a plan to build three new delivery fulfillment centers in the Great Lakes, Pacific Northwest and West regions.
The partnership with tech company Ocado will allow America's largest grocery retailer to deliver groceries to more customers with the help of Ocado's automation and artificial intelligence.
"Kroger is incredibly excited to construct three additional industry-leading Customer Fulfillment Centers across the country in relationship with Ocado to bring fresh food to our customers more conveniently than ever before," said Robert Clark, Kroger's senior vice president of supply chain, manufacturing and sourcing. "Through our strategic partnership, we are engineering a model for these regions, leveraging advanced robotics technology and creative solutions to redefine the customer experience."
The fulfillment center in the West region will measure 300,000 square feet, while the sites in the Pacific Northwest and Great Lakes regions will measure 200,000 and 150,000 square feet, respectively. The exact locations have not yet been announced.
"Kroger and Ocado are building an ecommerce ecosystem across the U.S. that will deliver unrivalled online experiences to more customers, in more ways and in more markets," Ocado Solutions CEO Luke Jensen. "Spanning a range of automated CFC sizes, these three new sites will be key parts of this growing and flexible fulfillment network. Alongside the scale and wider benefits of larger CFCs, smaller format and mini CFCs will allow Kroger to reach more geographies with Ocado's automation, while also catering to a wide range of options for delivery."
The facilities will collectively create more than 1,000 new jobs, with the potential for hundreds of additional career opportunities. The exact locations of the three new facilities will be announced at a later date.
Kroger previously announced plans to open its first fulfillment site in Monroe, Ohio, in early 2021. The company is also planning sites in Groveland, Florida; Fredericksburg, Maryland; Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin; Atlanta and Dallas.
Kroger's expansion plans come as the company has established a $5 million fund in an effort to improve "inclusion and equity" in communities across the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd. The company said in a statement that it is "committed to listening, learning, and doing better as a company to support the advancement of racial equity and justice."