Ocado set to open £210m fulfilment centre

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Ocado expects to open its new 350,000 sq ft fulfilment centre at Dordon near Tamworth at the end of this month.

The e-tailer is investing some £210m in the site. It said equipment testing started in early summer, and systems testing commenced according to schedule later in the summer.

“We have now started receiving stock from suppliers and expect to go live with the first customer orders picked by the end of February.

It has also started the fit out of a non-food distribution centre in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, which opened last week to support the longer term growth in non-food.

Capacity has also been expanded at the Hatfield customer fulfilment centre with several new enhancements going live, notably a new large storage and fast picking machine, an ambient automated storage facility, and crane improvements.

“During the period we removed all remaining ambient and chilled trolley picking from our fulfilment system and introduced the first automated bagging machine.”

At peak the site now handles more than 140,000 orders a week and the aim is to increase this to 150,000 over the next few months.

The company reported a 24 per cent rise in EBITDA to £34.5m for the full year in 2012, which gross sales were up 14 per cent to £732m.

On a statutory basis it produced a pre-tax loss of £600,000 – a significant improvement of £2.4m.

Sir Stuart Rose, formerly chief executive of Marks & Spencer, is due to take over as Non-Executive Chairman Designate from Lord Michael Grade in March.

Chief executive officer Tim Steiner said: “We continued to achieve double digit sales growth during 2012 with increasing rates of sales and new customer momentum as we moved into 2013… Shopping online for groceries is clearly of increasing importance to consumers.”


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