The Kroger Co. will open its first high-tech customer fulfillment center in partnership with British e-commerce company Ocado in the region of its hometown of Cincinnati.
The automated warehouse, also known as a "shed," will have robotic capabilities for storing and retrieval and will likely be constructed in the Cincinnati suburb of Monroe, Ohio, which provided state and local incentives. The retailer plans to open 20 such facilities across the country in an effort to revamp the way it fulfills online shopping orders.
The first shed will measure 335,000 square feet, born from a $55 million investment from Kroger, and is expected to create 410 new jobs in the Cincinnati area.
Kroger reported that it had finalized its deal with Ocado during an investor conference last month, and promised that the locations of the first three facilities would be announced in the near future. Although the locations of the first seven facilities are known internally, per chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen at the conference, the retailer is keeping the information under wraps until it ensures each facility will be strategically placed to the best of its abilities.
McMullen said Kroger is partnering with the "best partners in the world to co-innovate and leverage technology to redefine the customer experience."
"We are incredibly excited to partner with Ocado to transform the industry and deliver on our Restock Kroger vision to serve America through food inspiration and uplift," he said. "This Kroger shed, powered by Ocado, will accelerate our ability to provide customers with anything, anytime and anywhere."
Additionally, Kroger SVP of New Business Development Alex Tosolini said he anticipates that the partnership will allow the retailer to develop the "strongest possible supply network to support a seamless customer experience that can serve every person in America," adding that it's "all about building a seamless supply chain to provide our customers with an amazing shopping experience."