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Kroger plans fifth Ocado automated warehouse in Dallas

Construction of online grocery facility to get under way next year

As part of its partnership with U.K. online grocer Ocado, The Kroger Co. has identified Dallas as the fifth location to build an automated warehouse to fulfill online grocery orders.

Kroger and Ocado said yesterday that the 350,000-square-foot customer fulfillment center (CFC), to be located off Interstate 20 at the corner of 4200 Cleveland Rd. and 4241 Telephone Rd. in Dallas, is slated to become operational within 24 months after the scheduled groundbreaking in early 2020.

"Kroger is incredibly excited to construct one of our industry-leading customer fulfillment centers in Dallas, Texas — one of the largest cities in America — in relationship with Ocado to bring fresh food to our customers faster than ever before," Robert Clark, senior vice president of supply chain, manufacturing and sourcing at Kroger, said in a statement. "Through our strategic partnership, we are engineering a model for the region, leveraging advanced robotics technology and creative solutions to redefine the customer experience for our customers in North Texas and across America."

Dubbed as a “shed” by Ocado and Kroger, the automated warehouse uses digital and robotic technology to fulfill online grocery orders. When unveiling their partnership in May 2018, Kroger and Ocado said they plan to open 20 CFCs in the United States over the next three years. The companies aims to replicate the CFC model as they construct the facilities across the country, extending Kroger’s online grocery reach, potentially into new markets.

"The Dallas-Fort Worth area is one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in America and with this cutting-edge technology, Kroger is confident our partnership with Ocado will play an integral role in the continued commerce growth of this dynamic region," according to Tom Schwilke, president of the Kroger Dallas division. "This transformative fulfillment center will create local jobs and accelerate Kroger's ability to expand our products and services to a larger footprint, providing customers with anything, anytime, anywhere."  

Thus far, Kroger has named four CFC locations, including the Dallas site. The retailer in June broke ground on a 335,000-square-foot CFC in Monroe, Ohio, and has since said it expects to break ground for 375,000-square-foot CFCs in Groveland, Fla., and Forest Park, Ga., later this year. The Monroe, Groveland and Forest Park facilities are slated to be up and running in 2021. In February, Kroger also said it plans to build an Ocado automated warehouse in the Mid-Atlantic region, but it hasn’t yet specified a location.

"This announcement of Kroger's latest automated warehouse in Dallas marks another big moment in the U.S. grocery e-commerce story. I'm delighted we can bring the cutting-edge innovation of the Ocado Smart Platform to Kroger's operations in such an important market," stated Luke Jensen, CEO of Ocado Solutions, which has its U.S. headquarters in Tyson, Va. "Kroger and Ocado's partnership is a game-changer in the fast-developing, global landscape for online grocery. As this site develops and goes live, it will be instrumental in delivering fantastic grocery experiences and exciting job opportunities to households across North Texas."

The Dallas CFC is expected to provide up to 400 jobs, Kroger and Ocado said.

“I'm delighted to welcome Kroger's online grocery fulfillment facility to southern Dallas,” Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said in a statement. “The city's competitive incentive package for Kroger and Ocado Solutions will facilitate the creation of hundreds of well-paying jobs, engage our education system and provide a new option for our consumers. The deal shows that Dallas is truly a 21st century city, and I anticipate the facility will be a boon to our residents.”

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