By Aisha Al-Muslim
Supermarket operator Kroger and online grocer Ocado have broken ground on their first automated customer fulfillment center in the U.S., part of Kroger's strategy to expand further into grocery delivery.
The U.S.'s largest supermarket chain is building the first high-tech warehouse facility in Monroe, Ohio, with digital and robotic capabilities. Cincinnati-based Kroger is investing $55 million to build the 335,000 square-foot center.
"Our partnership with Ocado will introduce transformative ecommerce, fulfillment and logistics technology in the U.S.," Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and chief executive, said in prepared remarks.
The new Southwest Ohio facility is expected to create more than 400 jobs. It is expected to become operational in spring 2021.
Kroger intends to open 20 customer fulfillment centers, the company said. Two additional sites have been selected in Central Florida and the Mid-Atlantic.
Ocado Solutions is a division of U.K.-based automated-grocery company Ocado Group PLC that Kroger has invested in to build a network of automated warehouses for online retail in the U.S.
In May 2018, Kroger and Ocado announced their alliance to bring Ocado's technologies to the U.S.
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