The Kroger Co. and Ocado broke ground June 12 on their first customer fulfillment center (CFC). The automated warehouse facility with digital and robotic capabilities—also known as a shed—is being constructed in Monroe, Ohio.
Kroger intends to open 20 CFCs 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 Ohio shed, which will measure 335,000 s.f. and is expected to generate more than 400 new jobs.
“Kroger is incredibly excited to reach this meaningful milestone in our Restock vision to serve America through food inspiration and uplift,” said Rodney McMullen, chairman and CEO, who noted that Cincinnati-based Kroger is proud to build the first shed in its home state. “Our partnership with Ocado will introduce transformative e-commerce, 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.”
Luke Jensen, CEO of online grocer Ocado Solutions, added, “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 e-commerce. 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.”
Monroe City Manager William Brock said, “The Kroger-Ocado partnership brings advanced technology to Monroe along with the Kroger grocery name that our residents recognize. 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.”
Ryan Cos. US Inc. will design and build the shed, and that design will serve as a model for future projects, according to Todd Schell, SVP-industrial for Ryan Cos.
Kroger operates 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banner names.