Ocado opens 2nd-largest hub in bid for 600k weekly orders

Supermarkets

Ocado has hailed an “exciting milestone” as it opens a centre to mark the anniversary of its partnership with Marks & Spencer.

The supermarkets launched Ocado Retail, a joint venture which cost Marks & Spencer £750 million, in September last year.

The new warehouse in Purfleet, Essex measures roughly 304,000 square foot and will be able to process 80,000 orders per week.

Ocado sales surged over lockdown and the online grocer has sought to capitalise on its growth from last year.

READ MORE: Union threatens to ‘stain’ Ocado reputation over wage row

The Purfleet building is Ocado’s second-largest and marks its third warehouse to open this year.

In February it unveiled a “mini” hub in Bristol, which handles 30,000 orders per week, and it reopened its Andover facility in August after the original burned down in 2019.

Once the three sites are working at full capacity, Ocado believes it can make 600,000 deliveries per week.

“Now with our increased capacity and slot availability, we’re proud to bring our… unbeatable service to even more people across the nation,” Ocado Retail head Melanie Smith told The Grocer.

She added: “Our partnership with M&S over the last year has seen our customers regularly add a wide variety of terrific M&S products to their baskets.”

There are reportedly 16 Marks & Spencer products in each Ocado customer’s weekly shop.

However, the supermarkets’ partnership has proved rocky over the last year.

In July, Marks and Spencer chairman Archie Norman admitted there were “issues” with Ocado’s delivery network.

“It doesn’t cover a lot of the country, there is a lot of investment due,” he told investors.

“Ocado can’t serve a lot of Marks and Spencer customers – they are still building more capacity.”

The online grocer is due to open another “mini” facility next year in Bicester.

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