US-based grocery retailer Kroger has opened a spoke facility in Kentucky’s Greater Louisville area to expand its delivery service for customers.

The 50,000ft² facility will employ up to 161 full-time associates and use recyclable bags as part of Kroger’s commitment to eliminating waste.

It will work in partnership with Kroger’s customer fulfilment centre in Monroe, Ohio, and act as a last-mile cross-dock in Louisville.

In addition, customers in the area will have access to Boost by Kroger, the retailer’s new annual membership programme.

Members of the Boost programme will be offered various benefits, including unlimited free delivery on orders of $35 and general merchandise purchases through delivery, pick-up and in-store, for an annual fee of either $59 or $99.

Kroger e-commerce vice-president and head Bill Bennett said: “Kroger Delivery is part of our rapidly expanding seamless ecosystem that provides customers with fresh and quality products – anytime and anywhere.

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“We are thrilled to expand Kroger’s offerings to more Louisville customers with a truly differentiated customer experience.

“Local Kentucky residents can use or the Kroger app to check the weekly circular, select personalised digital coupons, search products by dietary preference and ultimately place their order.

“Customers will enjoy receiving their orders directly from our refrigerated trucks and delivered by trained Kroger uniformed associates, giving customers an unparalleled first-class delivery experience.”

The expansion in Louisville is part of Kroger’s partnership with grocery e-commerce technology provider Ocado.

Since 2018, the two companies have operated a delivery network that makes use of artificial intelligence, advanced robotics and automation.

In April last year, Kroger announced that it aims to double its digital sales by the end of next year.

The company believes its strategic initiatives will help it deliver a sustainable total shareholder return of 8% to 11% via a net earnings growth of between 3% and 5%.