US supermarket chain Kroger, in collaboration with UK online supermarket Ocado Group, has commenced construction of its first customer fulfilment centre (CFC) in Monroe, Ohio, US.
The retailer is investing $55m to establish the 335,000ft2 CFC and is expected to generate more than 400 new jobs.
The CFC model, which is an automated warehouse facility with digital and robotic capabilities, will be replicated to serve customers across the country.
Kroger chair and CEO Rodney McMullen said: “Kroger is incredibly excited to reach this meaningful milestone in our Restock Kroger vision to serve America through food inspiration and uplift.
“Our partnership with Ocado will introduce transformative ecommerce, fulfilment and logistics technology in the US and bring customers fresher food faster than ever before, accelerating our ability to provide anything, anytime, anywhere.”
The supermarket chain has selected Ryan Companies US to design and build the Ohio facility, which will serve as a model for future projects.
Kroger entered a service and operational agreement with Ocado, last year, to develop the 20 CFCs over the first three years.
Both companies announced the Munroe automated warehouse facility, in November last year.
Kroger also announced, in February this year, that it will add two new CFCs in Central Florida and Mid-Atlantic, as part of the collaboration with Ocado.
The Restock Kroger plan was announced in October 2017 to redefine the food and grocery customer experience in the US, both digitally and in stores.
The plan, which is expected to generate $400m in incremental operating margin by next year, aims to strategically re-position Kroger to advance its customer-centred efforts to create shareholder value.