Waitrose has converted one of its existing distribution warehouses in West London into a dark store to further its online shopping expansion plans.
Mark Price, Waitrose managing director, said: “The density of population and rapid growth of online shopping in London calls for an additional approach to e-Commerce to ensure that we offer our customers the same standards of service that they’ve come to expect from our branches.
“This is a significant step in the development of our multi-channel offer, and will play an important role in the continued growth of our e-commerce sales over the next decade.”
The new Dotcom only branch will create around 350 jobs when operating at full capacity, functioning as a regular Waitrose shop but closed to customers.
The “branch” is located at XL96 on 96 Victoria Road, Acton which had been on the market as surplus to requirements through John Lewis in October last year.
The 198,221 sq ft property comprises a detached storage/distribution centre built in the early 1990s on a secure self-contained site of approximately four acres. The accommodation is spread over five floors including basement.
The basement, ground and first floors are of concrete construction, with mezzanines at upper levels. There is approximately ten per cent office content spread over ground, first and second floors. Joint agents are Cushman & Wakefield and Aspect.
The dark store will offer Waitrose the opportunity to develop its online business for the unique London market: a much greater volume of orders can be picked at a time, and online shoppers will be offered a much wider range of delivery slots as late as 11pm.
Waitrose currently picks orders in each customer’s local branch. However, in the densely populated London market this means there is heavy demand for peak slots such as weekends and Friday evenings.