Baby, if you ever wondered, wondered where grocery giant Kroger was going to build its first Ocado-powered automated robot warehouse, then get ready because it will be in…. Cincinnati. Well, a suburb north of the city, but it’s basically in Cincinnati-based Kroger’s backyard.
Kroger today announced that the first Ocado-powered customer fulfillment centers (CFC) will be in the suburb of Monroe, OH. Kroger says it will spend $55 million on this automated warehouse, which the company is referring to as a “shed” (ed. note: we don’t know why they call it a shed, they don’t explain it in the release, perhaps it’s a holdover from U.K.-based Ocado’s home country?).
Earlier this year, Kroger upped its investment in Ocado, taking a 6 percent stake in the company. As part of that deal, Kroger and Ocado will build twenty such automated warehouse facilities across the U.S. over the next three years. If the original timetable still holds, Kroger could announce two more CFC locations before the end of this year.
Kroger specifically has been on a tear lately. In addition to Ocado, the company started piloting deliveries via self-driving cars, launched Ship, its direct-to-consumer e-commerce platform, and expanded its deal with Instacart.
In addition to all that investment, in August, Kroger teamed up with the University of Cininnati to create an innovation lab, which makes the Monroe CFC location make even more sense. Having a high-tech fulfillment center just miles from your innovation lab can breed a lot of, well, innovation. Given that it’s almost Thanksgiving, perhaps they can find a way to finally make turkeys fly.