It joins the list of firms that have this year boosted distribution centre space to help cater for a wave of new customers won during the pandemic, as people embraced online shopping more than ever.
FTSE 100 company Ocado said the latest site is its third “customer fulfilment centre” (CFC) to launch this year, and up to 1500 people could work there once it is at full capacity. It will be Ocado’s biggest CFC behind one in Erith.
Once all three new centres are fully operational, the group could potentially handle up to 600,000 orders per week. The figure most recently was around 356,000 orders.
The opening comes one year after Ocado created a joint venture with Marks & Spencer offering its range.
Melanie Smith, chief executive of Ocado Retail, said the expansion will help the company “to deliver to more customers than ever before”.
The firm added that Ocado Retail covers areas comprising 75% of UK households, and “significant investment continues to be made to expand capacity”. It also said progress on the roll out of Ocado Zoom sites continues. That service operates from smaller “micro” sites and gives customers a same-day delivery service from a smaller range of products.
Numerous retailers have increased distribution centre space in 2021. Across the UK logistics sector there is high demand for staff, with tech giant Amazon offering £1,000 “golden hellos” to new warehouse workers.
Research from consultancy Altus Group said there was 14.72 million square feet of brand-new large distribution warehouse space last year.