GROVELAND, Fla., July 24, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR), America's largest grocery retailer, and Ocado (LSE: OCDO), one of the world's largest dedicated online grocery retailers, today broke ground on America's second customer fulfillment center (CFC), located in Groveland, FL – a new market for the retailer.
"Kroger is excited to enter Florida to redefine the customer experience through our industry-leading partnership with Ocado," said Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and CEO. "There's a substantial demand for Kroger products and services in the state, and we're eager to offer a new and seamless experience through the customer fulfillment center, leveraging advanced robotics technology and creative solutions to provide customers with anything, anytime, anywhere."
Kroger's first CFC – an automated warehouse facility with digital and robotic capabilities, also known as a shed – is being constructed in Monroe, OH. The CFC model is now being replicated in Groveland and will continue in cities across the United States to serve customers. Kroger intends to open 20 CFCs as it transforms to become an omnichannel retailer. Two additional sites have been named in Forest Park, GA and the Mid-Atlantic region.
Kroger is investing $55 million to build the CFC in Groveland, which will measure up to 375,000 square feet and is expected to generate up to 400 new jobs.
"This is another significant milestone for Kroger and Ocado, and a big step toward a nationwide revolution in how Kroger customers experience grocery ecommerce," said Tim Steiner, CEO of Ocado Group. "As they enter Florida for the first time, Kroger is breaking ground in more ways than one, and I am delighted to bring Ocado's world-class technology to its operations in such an important market. Our partnership is also creating exciting opportunities for technologists and engineers to work with Ocado's cutting-edge robotics and automation. As this site develops, we look forward to welcoming new talent to our skilled, dedicated and growing teams across the United States."
"The City of Groveland is thrilled to partner with Kroger and Ocado," said Groveland Mayor Evelyn Wilson. "We share their values of customer service, commitment to excellence and demonstrated concern for people and the environment, all fitting perfectly with Groveland and our shared future."
"We are excited about the opportunities Kroger's state-of-the-art customer fulfillment center will bring to Lake County," said Tracy Garcia, director, Elevate Lake Economic Development. "The jobs being created are an important factor, as it adds more vibrancy to our community. This will enable many of the 62,000 residents that travel elsewhere for work to stay closer to home for quality employment; trading precious commute time for quality personal time."
"We are excited to partner with Kroger on the construction of its second shed," said Todd Schell, Senior Vice President of Industrial for Ryan Companies. "The opportunity to design and build such an innovative project is important to us, and we are honored to be a small part of the growth that is accelerating the grocery industry as a result of these types of projects."
"Kroger is especially grateful to the State of Florida, Groveland and Lake County for working with us to introduce Kroger to Central Florida residents," continued McMullen. "We look forward to recruiting talent and transforming the ecommerce, fulfillment and logistics landscape to bring Florida customers fresher food faster than ever before."
In May 2018, Kroger and Ocado announced their alliance to bring Ocado's innovation and technologies to the U.S.
The new CFC will be located at 7925 American Way in Groveland and is expected to become operational in 2021.
During today's groundbreaking ceremony, Kroger presented $10,000 to the Faith Neighborhood Center Food Bank, a South Lake County hunger-relief agency, to support Zero Hunger | Zero Waste, the company's bold social impact plan to end hunger in its communities and eliminate waste across the company by 2025. Kroger's Zero Hunger | Zero Waste donation will be used to establish a food market inside Windy Hill Middle School, enabling it to have a fully-stocked pantry for students who need food assistance during the upcoming school year.
The donation also demonstrates Kroger and Ocado's shared social impact efforts, as Ocado announced in March 2018 that it operated nearly zero waste facilities in the United Kingdom.
To view video and photography of a CFC, visit here.
At The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR), we are dedicated to our Purpose: to Feed the Human Spirit™. We are nearly half a million associates who serve over 11 million customers daily through a seamless digital shopping experience and 2,761 retail food stores under a variety of banner names, serving America through food inspiration and uplift, and creating #ZeroHungerZeroWaste communities by 2025. To learn more about us, visit our newsroom and investor relations site.
About Ocado Solutions
Ocado Solutions is responsible for corporate partnerships, providing the Ocado Smart Platform (OSP) as a service to retailers around the world. OSP comprises access to Ocado's physical infrastructure solutions, running highly efficient warehouse operations for the single pick of products, together with the entire end-to-end proprietary software applications required to operate a world class online grocery business. It is underpinned by Ocado's proven expertise and experience as a dedicated online grocer in the UK.
SOURCE The Kroger Co.