Waitrose to double grocery deliveries to London customers through new CFC
Waitrose is opening a six-acre customer fulfilment centre in London’s Enfield this week as part of plans to double its online grocery orders in the capital by September.
Due to open on 7 May, the new facility will create 370 jobs which will rise to 850 when full capacity is reached. The facility will eventually add 13,000 weekly delivery slots for London customers.
Waitrose is currently investing £100 million in its online business as it prepares for the ending of its long-term agreement with Ocado to sell Waitrose products in September.
The supermarket has also been expanding its online delivery slots throughout the coronavirus pandemic to help more customers, particularly the elderly and vulnerable, to have their shopping delivered to their homes. The service has increased by more than 50% in recent weeks to more than 120,000 customer orders per week. However, demand for delivery slots is still outstripping supply.
The Enfield centre will work alongside an existing centre in Coulsdon which delivers grocery orders across the South London area. Waitrose also has a network of 14 delivery shops in the capital which together deliver to all London postcodes. In the last few weeks, 40 shops in London have also become grocery collection shops for customers to click and collect orders.
Waitrose.com director Ben Stimson said: “Before coronavirus, Waitrose.com was already going through a period of significant expansion, with investment across our infrastructure and website. Enfield was planned as a big part of our expansion plans – but in fact it is now also helping us respond as best we can to the huge demand for online slots – especially from our most vulnerable customers.
“One thing that recent weeks have highlighted to us is the importance of online retail to vulnerable people. Our shops have always been firmly rooted in their communities but through these challenging times our partners working in shops and delivering grocery orders have been at the forefront of trying to respond to these needs in a way we couldn’t have imagined. We’re extremely proud of partners across the country and the vital role they’re carrying out.”
The supermarket has also recently trebled the size of its Rapid service to 7,000 orders per week, with at least 40% of slots reserved for vulnerable customers. The service offers up to 25 products for delivery within two hours.
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