Waitrose is to open a second customer fulfilment centre (CFC) in order to support its online ambitions.
The supermarket, a Top50 retailer in IRUK Top500 research, recently outlined its plans to triple ecommerce grocery sales to £1bn over the next three years, in partnership with Today Development Partners. That partnership agreement includes opening three new CFCs with state of the art technology. Today it said its second CFC would open in a 110,000 sq ft building on a five-acre site in Enfield in the spring of 2020.
Waitrose.com deliveries are currently picked and packed by Waitrose staff working in local shops across the UK. The supermarket opened its first CFC in Coulsdon, South London, in 2015, in order to work alongside those shops. Together they offer a range of 27,000 branded and own-label products for delivery in one-hour slots to 81% of active UK postcodes.
Ben Stimson, digital director of Waitrose & Partners, said: “Waitrose.com growth is rapid and we know there are many more new customers who would like to buy our products from us online. This centre is the latest in an exciting raft of investments and will ensure they have a really convenient, easy way to do so.”
The Enfield announcement is the next stage of £80m investment that Waitrose has made in its online business over five years.
It has also invested investing in new ways to reach more customers online. Its While You’re Away trial delivers groceries to customers’ homes and puts them away while they are not at home. Waitrose says that order numbers for the service are growing by 10% a week, and new trial customers are being added. Some customers are placing two orders a week.
Its Rapid Delivery service delivers to customers within two hours of ordering, with more than 200 deliveries made through the trial. Orders have grown by 20% a week since the trial launched last September. Recently made-to-order sushi for same-day delivery was added to the trial.
Waitrose online grocery sales grew by 14% in the year to January 27 2019. The supermarket has 349 shops in England, Scotland, Wales and the Channel Islands and also sells online via waitrosecellar.com and waitroseflorist.com.
Image courtesy of Waitrose