Thousands of Ocado orders cancelled after fire

Ocado faces a week of disruption after a fire at its largest warehouse on Friday.

The blaze began when three grocery-packing robots collided at its Erith site in South East London.

Around 800 staff were evacuated and 100 firefighters worked through the night to contain the damage.

No one is thought to have been injured.

READ MORE: ‘Issues’ with Ocado partnership, M&S admits

It is the second major fire to strike the grocer in recent years, following the gutting of its Andover facility in 2019.

Ocado, which handles 150,000 orders a week at the Erith warehouse, warned customers that “some of our orders have been cancelled”.

It also thanked the fire brigade and other emergency services “for their hard work and professionalism”.

“One fire at a depot is unfortunate. But two?” tweeted a long-time Ocado shopper.

“Makes one wonder if the automation model is fatally flawed.”

The three-day Andover blaze started after a faulty charging unit caused a robot to burst into flames.

However, Ocado, which saw sales increase by 40 per cent in the first three months of 2021, is unlikely to shift away from its reliance on robots.

Some have described it as “a technology company, which also happens to be in retail”.

It opened its first international warehouses in France and Canada last year, and announced plans to build a facility in Madrid earlier this month.

Supermarkets

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