The Kroger Co. has revealed that its next two Ocado e-commerce centers will be located in central Florida and the Mid-Atlantic regions.
The Florida facility would represent a new market for Kroger, which currently has a presence in the Sunshine State only through a few Lucky's Market stores in which it has a strategic investment. Kroger did not say how the Ocado offering would be branded in Florida.
Ocado develops massive automated warehouses its officials say are capable of profitably producing around $1 billion in annual sales each. That's roughly equivalent to the nonfuel sales at more than two dozen Kroger supermarkets, indicating the potential for major competitive disruption in central Florida, where Publix, Walmart and Winn-Dixie are the largest grocery sellers.
Kroger has committed to building 20 such "sheds" across the U.S. In November, Kroger named the Monroe suburb of its hometown of Cincinnati as the debut location. CEO Rodney McMullen has said the facilities would be operational roughly two years after they are announced.
The locations of an additional four facilities are known internally, McMullen said in an investor call in October, but the retailer will not divulge this information until it ensures each facility is strategically placed.
The automated warehouse facilities feature digital and robotic capabilities and are aimed at streamlining the online shopping experience.
Alex Tosolini, Kroger's SVP of new business development, said the retailer is developing "the retail model of the future" through its Ocado partnership.
"We will co-innovate with Ocado to develop the best possible experiences for our customers, leveraging advanced robotics technology and creative solutions," he said.
McMullen also said the retailer is excited to bring these services to customers along the East Coast.