Ocado plans to open 56 new fulfilment centres

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Ocado has announced that it plans to open 56 customer fulfilment centres (CFC) as well as a dozen “zoom centres” following strong growth in the first half of 2021.

The online retail company reported retail growing to £1.2bn, up 19.8%; strong new customer and order growth as Covid-19 restrictions ease.

Tim Steiner, Chief Executive Officer of Ocado Group, said: “As we head towards a post Covid-19 future, it is increasingly clear that the landscape for grocery worldwide has changed, for good.

“Over the last eighteen months, we have shown that the Ocado model works even in the most challenging and fluid of environments.”

In the first half of 2021 the Ocado Group opened three CFCs these include the first “mini” CFC in Bristol, UK and the first CFCs in the US for Kroger, in Monroe, Ohio, and Groveland, Florida.

The Bristol CFC is now operating at over 50% of its capacity of 30,000 orders per week, just over four months after having gone live and a little over a year and a half since the site was acquired.

The company reported that: “The momentum of CFC openings is building. 56 CFCs are committed and 15 are currently under construction outside the UK. We expect to open a total of 5 CFCs in FY21 and 9 in FY22.

In addition Ocado Retail is looking at an extensive roll-out of Ocado Zoom, its micro-fulfilment concept. There are plans for 12 Zooms in UK cities over the next three years. It already has one site in Acton and another site secured.

The company has already has CFC 3; a rebuild following a fire in Andover) and CFC 6 in Purfleet that will go live in 3Q and 4Q, respectively, bringing a further 145k orders per week of growth capacity at maturity.

There is also CFC in Bicester which is on track for launch in 2022. This site will be the second mini CFC in the UK, with a mature capacity of 30,000 orders per week.

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