Ocado to hire 1500 new staff as it opens 2nd-largest robotic fulfilment centre

Supply Chain

Ocado is set to create 1500 new jobs as it officially opens its sixth UK automated customer fulfilment centre (CFC) in Purfleet.

Ocado Retail, which is today also celebrating the one-year anniversary of its joint venture with Marks & Spencer, says that operations have officially commenced at the new location.

Its new Purfleet CFC, its third to launch in the UK this year after the reopening of its Andover site last month, will be Ocado’s second-biggest warehouse in the country capable of fulfilling 80,000 orders per week once fully ramped up.

It forms part of Ocado’s scramble to rapidly expand its capacity throughout the UK, after struggling for months to meet the spike in demand for online grocery orders during the pandemic.

Alongside the reopening of its Andover site after it was destroyed by a fire pre-pandemic, and the opening of a mini-CFC in Bristol earlier this year, Ocado says its capacity will have increased by a whopping 40 per cent compared with 2020.

This will take the number of orders per week it is able to deliver from 356,000 to around 600,000 when the three sites are fully operational, servicing 75 per cent of UK households.

READ MORE: Ocado poaches ex-Amazon AI and robotics expert to help “make the most” of its tech

However, Ocado says it plans to continue “significant investment” in order to expand capacity, with plans to open another mini-CFC in Bicester next year, while a number of Ocado Zoom sites are also set to be rolled out throughout next year.

“The opening of our Purfleet CFC is an exciting milestone in Ocado’s journey, enabling us to deliver to more customers than ever before,” Ocado Retail chief executive Melanie Smith said.

“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. Now with our increased capacity and slot availability, we’re proud to bring our market-leading range, great value and unbeatable service to even more people across the nation.”

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