COVID-19 has accelerated the growing demand for online purchasing, but even before the pandemic struck, Kroger Co. was at the forefront of the move into online ordering and delivery.
The Cincinnati-based company broke ground earlier this year on a 350,000-square-foot fulfillment center in Kenosha County’s Pleasant Prairie. The facility is the sixth Kroger has planned as part of a join project with Ocado, a British online grocer specializing in automated order fulfillment and home delivery.
“Through our strategic partnership, we are engineering a model for the region, leveraging advanced robotics technology and creative solutions to redefine the customer experience for our customers in Wisconsin and Illinois,” said Robert Clark, Kroger’s senior vice president of supply chain, manufacturing and sourcing.
“This project expands Kroger’s commitment to continued investment in Wisconsin and Illinois. With this cutting-edge technology, Kroger is confident our partnership with Ocado will play an integral role in the continued commerce growth of this dynamic region,” said Michael Marx, Kroger Roundy’s president. “This transformative fulfillment center will create local jobs and accelerate Kroger’s ability to expand our products and services to a larger footprint, providing customers with anything, anytime, anywhere.”
“Wisconsin’s excellent transportation infrastructure, educated and highly skilled workers, and strong communities make our state the clear choice for businesses like Kroger and Ocado that are looking to grow,” said Missy Hughes, WEDC’s secretary and CEO. WEDC is assisting the project with $1.5 million in Business Development Tax Credits.
With 2,759 stores in 35 states, Kroger is the largest supermarket chain in the U.S. The chain and its Kroger Roundy’s subsidiary has 8,601 employees in the region; the new fulfillment center is expected to add up to 400 new jobs in southeastern Wisconsin and will serve customers in Wisconsin, northern Illinois and northwest Indiana.