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Ocado to open new Wimbledon distribution site

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Online supermarket Ocado has signed up for a two-acre site in Wimbledon, which will add a new ‘distribution spoke’ to its existing network, and enhance the company’s central distribution system. The spokes are the points at which customer orders on articulated lorries arrive from the main Hatfield DC and are re-loaded into delivery vans for local dispatch.

In the case of the Wimbledon site, around 14,000 orders per week will be handled, and 190 jobs are being created in the region. Ocado will start work on upgrading two warehouses at the site – totalling 38,500 sq ft – immediately, with the operation set to go live in late May. At peak capacity, the new distribution spoke will serve existing customers in the area, and take capacity from Ocado’s regional sites in Weybridge, Surrey and Dartford, Kent. It will operate 60 vans, adding to Ocado’s current fleet of 770 delivery vehicles.

A spokeswoman for Ocado said: “With articulated lorries coming from the CFC [central fulfilment centre] in Hatfield straight to Wimbledon to serve the immediate area, this will create more efficiency regarding transport miles, and free up capacity at the Weybridge and Dartford spokes which are currently serving south west London.” She added: “For customers it will mean more delivery slots.”

Tim Steiner, chief executive officer of Ocado, said: “The new Wimbledon distribution spoke site will not only help us grow our customer base in south London but will free capacity at the existing Ocado sites and enable them to grow further too. We are pleased to be extending our service in London and creating more local jobs.” We remain as focused as ever on improving the customer offer, and delivering both service satisfaction and strong growth.”

Ocado delivers over 21,000 product lines including Waitrose goods and a growing Ocado own-label range; most recently it has launched non-food lines such as toys, magazines, kitchenware and fresh flowers.

In the 52 weeks ended 28 November 2010 gross sales at Ocado increased 29% to £551.1m, and profitability was reached in the second half of the year, including at a pre-tax profit level in the fourth quarter.

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