Ocado expands rapid grocery delivery service to Leeds

Ocado Retail is opening its fourth Zoom by Ocado site in Leeds to facilitate its rapid grocery delivery service in the northern City.

The automated warehouse represents the company’s first Zoom facility outside of London.

The new site uses 70 robots which operate on a grid, using an ‘air traffic control style’ operating system.

They communicate using 4G technology and travel at speeds of up to four metres per second.

The robots pick and pack the products, while humans assemble the final orders, "adding their seal of approval" ahead of delivery.

In January, Ocado Group unveiled new technology which it said would underpin the company’s existing Ocado Smart Platform (OSP), including what the company describes as the “world’s lightest and most efficient grocery fulfilment bot” and the first-ever virtual distribution centre (DC).

Ocado said that the delivery service will create 130 new jobs in the area, including warehouse staff and delivery drivers.

It predicts that Leeds residents will make up to 10,000 orders every week, delivered on a range of electric vehicles, including e-trikes and e-mopeds.

“Ocado is famed for its world-leading technology, and we’re delighted to be bringing our rapid grocery app to the city of Leeds as our service expands outside of London," said George Dean, director of Zoom by Ocado. "As well as offering mountains of choice to our customers delivered in under an hour - including Ocado’s great value Own Range, delicious M&S food, big name brands and local suppliers - we’re also dedicated to being a positive addition to the local community."

Dean continued: "As part of this pledge, we’ll be supporting Magic Breakfast and Rethink Food, a local food education charity, which aims to remove hunger as a barrier to learning."

The move comes after the online grocery business warned that rising energy and dry ice costs are likely to weigh on the company's profitability in the final months of the year.

The online grocery retailer recorded a hike in customer orders during the 13 weeks to 28 August, but said that consumers are shopping smaller baskets and seeking value-for-money items as they respond record inflation.

In September, Ocado Retail appointed Ocado Technology’s chief product officer Hannah Gibson as its new chief executive.

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