Kroger has chosen its hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, to house what it’s calling “America’s first customer fulfillment center” (CFC). After announcing plans to set up 20 distribution centers throughout the U.S. before the end of 2018, Kroger and Ocado revealed that Cincinnati was selected to house the first of the 20.
"Kroger is committed to helping position Cincinnati and Ohio as a destination for digital and technology talent. We are proud to choose our HQ state of Ohio as the first location for this first-of-its-kind customer fulfillment center in the U.S.," said Kroger’s Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen. "Kroger is joining 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. This Kroger shed, powered by Ocado, will accelerate our ability to provide customers with anything, anytime, and anywhere."
Kroger’s first CFC—an automated warehouse facility with digital and robotic capabilities, also known as a “shed”—will be constructed in Monroe, OH, a suburb north of Cincinnati, subject to securing state and local incentives. The retailer plans to invest $55 million into building the 335,000-square-foot shed that will create up to 410 new jobs.
"We are delighted to be supporting Kroger in its efforts to transform the service and value it brings to U.S. customers," said Luke Jensen, CEO of Ocado Solutions. "Today's announcement of the first CFC is an important first step to making that happen. It's all the more exciting that this CFC will serve Kroger's hometown of Cincinnati."
According to a press release, Ocado and Kroger are hoping to introduce innovative robotics technology to the masses and allow for next-generation automated storage and retrieval to become ingrained in the grocery supply chain with its first CFC.
"Ocado is a UK-based company with global ties and advanced digital and robotic capabilities. Working together, we will develop the strongest possible supply network to support a seamless customer experience that can serve every person in America," said Alex Tosolini, Kroger's Senior Vice President of New Business Development. "It's all about building a seamless supply chain to provide our customers with an amazing shopping experience."
Where will Kroger and Ocado land next? Deli Market News will continue to report on the latest in grocery retail innovation.