Ocado launches its first robotic automated warehouse in North America

Ocado has announced the launch of its first robotic automated warehouse in North America, which will be used by the Empire company to begin testing orders in Ontario, Canada, from today. Following successful completion of this test, Empire plans to begin a phased rollout of its new online grocery home delivery service, named Voilà, across the Greater Toronto Area.

It is the second Ocado customer fulfilment centre to be opened internationally in the past month, following the launch of a warehouse for an Ocado solutions partner in France. 

Luke Jensen, CEO of Ocado Solutions, commented: “This is a milestone moment for Ocado Solutions. Within almost a month, we have brought two international CFCs live and on-time with partners in Canada and France. These are testament to the amazing working partnerships we have developed, particularly under recent challenging circumstances with Covid-19. Of course, the current implications for the whole grocery retail sector of adapting to new and unprecedented demand also throw these launches into sharp relief.”

It could also signal an expansion of Ocado services in conjunction with other retailers going forward, with eCommerce likely to significantly increase in popularity beyond the current crisis. Last year, it announced a partnership with Marks & Spencer (M&S) in the UK, in which M&S will start selling its products via Ocado.com from September 2020.

“As Sobeys' first CFC builds capacity and extends to reach households across the Greater Toronto Area, it will be instrumental in bringing Ocado’s world-beating quality of service to customers in Canada for the first time. Next stop in Canada is the CFC to launch in the province of Quebec and Ottawa area,” added Jensen.

Earlier this month, Ocado revealed that it had received a ten-fold increase in demand for its products during Covid-19.