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Grocers push ahead with online fulfilment centres

17 October 2013

Waitrose and Sainsbury’s have announced plans to build new online fulfilment centres, or ‘dark stores’, in Greater London.

Waitrose is to open its second dotcom fulfilment centre in Coulsdon South London, which will more than double the number of online delivery slots available to shoppers in the capital.

The grocer currently fulfils London shoppers’ orders made on Waitrose.com through a network of London branches and a dotcom fulfilment centre (DFC) in Acton, West London, and will open the second site in Autumn 2014.

The grocer intends the multi-million pound depot will despatch up to twice as many orders per week as at Acton. The purpose-built, six acre site will feature an 80,000 sq ft picking space to allow up to 50% more items to be picked per hour and up to 50% more drops per van to be made per week.

Waitrose.com eCommerce sales jumped 40.6% in the first half of this year.

In the dark store mployees pick products from aisles laid out like a customer-facing branch. Navigation around the warehouse will be made more efficient and a self-contained chilled picking room will reduce refrigeration costs.

The site will create 500 jobs.

Sainsbury’s will open its first dedicated Online Fulfilment Centre in Bromley-By-Bow, East London, in a move that will eventually create 375 new jobs. The online fulfilment centre is set to open within the next few years.