Waitrose is opening a new online fulfilment centre in West London which is set to deliver 25,000 orders a week and create 800 new jobs.
The supermarket, which is a leading retailer in the RX Top500 report 2021, says the opening of the dark store will generate five times more available slots each week for London customers, compared to pre-pandemic. This will be the third customer fulfillment centre to help meet high demand. Staff will pick around 1.25 million products a week for delivery in 150 new vans.
Waitrose.com director Laura Burbedge says: “Waitrose.com now accounts for a fifth of our total business, compared to 6% a year ago. But despite this huge growth we know there are still more people who would like to shop online with us – so this new centre is a significant step in our future plans.”
The new site is the first developed with third-party logistics provider Wincanton, a partnership the retailer hopes will fast-track the centre and mean the respond rapidly to increasing demand for online delivery slots.
Wincanton chief executive officer James Wroath, adds: “As the first supply chain partner to create a dark store for grocery home deliveries in the UK, this is an exciting growth opportunity for Wincanton. We look forward to providing Waitrose.com customers in London with the highest levels of service. Dark stores will play a huge role in helping supply chains adapt to meet a new set of expectations as more retail purchases are made online and they will better enable businesses to serve customers, at scale.”
UK grocer, Asda has also expanded its online shopping capacity over the last year. Unlike Waitrose, the retailer has now chosen to grow its delivery capacity by using its own stores as fulfillment centres to serve customers.
The coronavirus crisis has forced online grocery to expand rapidly over the past year, in order to keep up with increasing demand. To find out more about how the grocery industry has been impacted by Covid-19 read the new RetailX Grocery sector 2021 report.