Kroger will enter Oklahoma via Ocado’s e-commerce “speak”

The Kroger Co. is expanding its market area to a 36th state, Oklahoma, with plans to build an automated fulfillment facility by Ocado to help fulfill online orders.

Cincinnati-based Kroger said Thursday that the 50,000-square-foot spoke site, at 8801 North I-35 Service Rd. in Oklahoma City, is expected to go live later this year. The facility will support a 350,000 square foot Customer Order Fulfillment Center (CFC), piloted by Ocado, being built in Dallas at the corner of 4200 Cleveland Rd. and 4241 Telephone Rd., which will open is scheduled for this spring.

The Oklahoma City radius will employ up to 191 full-time associates and serve as a last-mile transshipment location, extending the reach of Kroger’s delivery service from the Dallas CFC “hub” to customers up to 200 miles away, according to Kroger.

“We are excited to expand Kroger’s fulfillment network to Oklahoma City, a new geography for our operations and an integral part of our strategy to double our digital sales and profitability by the end of 2023” , Gabriel Arreaga, senior vice president and chief supply chain officer at Kroger, said in a statement. “This grocery delivery service is an innovative addition to the growing digital shopping experience offered to our customers. The shelf facility will provide impeccable, unparalleled customer service and improve direct access to fresh food in areas hungry for the variety and value offered by Kroger.

The Oklahoma City facility will be Kroger’s fifth satellite site. Last month, the supermarket giant announced plans to open a 50,000 square foot department in Louisville, Ky., later this year, following the December launch of a 48,000 square foot department in Indianapolis. . Both spokes support a 375,000 square foot CFC in Monroe, Ohio, which opened in April and was Kroger’s first Ocado facility to go live.

Kroger also launched spoke facilities in Tampa and Jacksonville, Fla., which operate with a 375,000 square foot CFC in Groveland, Fla., which went into service in June and marked the retailer’s entry into Florida. , another state where it does not. t have physical stores.

Last week, Kroger officially opened an Ocado CFC in Forest Park, Georgia, which serves the Atlanta market. The 375,000 square foot facility underwent a soft launch in December.

“We continue to be pleased with the deployment of our fulfillment centers in Groveland, Florida and Monroe, Ohio, both of which are exceeding internal expectations, and our most recent facility opening in Forest Park, Georgia,” Arreaga added. “We’ve had incredible net recommend scores, and our customers tell us they love our friendly, professionally trained drivers and refrigerated delivery vans that bring the freshest food right to their doorstep.” We look forward to continuing to expand our fulfillment network and entering existing and new geographies through hub and spoke facilities.

So far, Kroger has announced 16 CFCs, three of which – Monroe, Groveland and Forest Park – are now fully operational. In December, Kroger announced plans to build a 200,000 square foot CFC in North Carolina, expected to launch within 24 months of the site’s groundbreaking. Other Ocado CFCs reported by Kroger range from 135,000 to 375,000 square feet and include locations in Frederick, Maryland; Phoenix; Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin; and Romulus, Michigan, as well as unspecified locations in the Pacific Northwest, West, and Northeast, the latter representing another location where Kroger lacks stores. The retailer also announced plans for two CFCs in Southern California and two more in Florida.

Currently, Kroger has 2,726 physical stores in 34 states under banners such as Kroger, Ralphs, Dillons, Smith’s, King Soopers, Fry’s, QFC, City Market, Owen’s, Jay C, Pay Less, Baker’s, Gerbes, Harris Teeter, Pick ‘n Save, Metro Market, Mariano’s, Fred Meyer, Food 4 Less and Foods Co. Florida represents the only state where the retailer now operates but does not have physical stores.

Kroger unveiled its partnership with UK-based Ocado Group in May 2018, when the companies said they were planning 20 CFCs in the US over the next three years. Ocado’s CFCs and supporting facilities use vertical integration, machine learning and robotics to serve online grocery orders and are expected to expand Kroger’s reach to a larger geographic footprint, including in areas where it does not operate physical stores.

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