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Retail Industry Updates Supply Chain Industry Updates

Kroger Just Made a Big Splash in Florida

Kroger’s customer fulfillment center in Groveland, Fla., measures 375,000 square feet.

The Kroger Co. is the nation’s second-largest grocer behind Walmart. It operates 2,750 brick-and-mortar stores in 38 states under a variety of banner names. There are no stores in Florida, but as of June 9 there is one massive customer fulfillment center (CFC) in Groveland, Fla., that will offer e-commerce ordering and delivery of grocery items and fresh food.

Cincinnati-based Kroger has partnered with the Ocado Group, a UK-based leader in technology for grocery e-commerce, to enter the Florida market for the first time with a service that combines vertical integration, machine learning and robotics. The Groveland CFC measures 375,000 square feet, carries thousands of popular grocery products, and represents one of the models engineered for the Kroger Delivery network, which will also include smaller automated facilities and spoke locations. The CFC can fulfill thousands of orders per day. Kroger will open another spoke for the CFC later this month in Jacksonville. The Groveland location is the second CFC Kroger has opened; the retailer opened its first CFC in Monroe, Ohio, in April, and more CFCs will open soon across the country.

About three years ago, Kroger and Ocado began their partnership to introduce proprietary technology solutions to create more seamless and efficient fulfillment and to expand Kroger’s reach and products to new geographies. The vertically integrated network enables coverage of up to 90 miles from a CFC and significantly more territory when spoke locations are integrated, according to Kroger. In the CFCs, more than 1,000 robots whizz around giant 3-D grids, orchestrated by proprietary air-traffic control systems. The grid, known as The Hive, contains totes with products and ready-to-deliver customer orders that are placed via Kroger.com or the Kroger app. The groceries are delivered in a temperature-controlled van.

“Kroger is uniquely positioned to transform grocery e-commerce in Florida because of our differentiated offering that brings high-quality fresh groceries directly to our customers’ doorstep. The service features fresh food, adult beverage, and personal care products, affordable prices and promotions, and a best-in-class fuel rewards loyalty program,” said Bill Bennett, Kroger’s vice president of e-commerce.

“Groveland is excited to welcome Kroger to our family,” said Evelyn Wilson, mayor of Groveland. “The combination of their contributions to the community, coupled with their corporate culture and values, make them an ideal partner with our charming city. I look forward to a long and prosperous relationship.”