London, 2016-Sep-22 — /EPR Retail News/ — Sainsbury’s predicts that demand in the capital for its online groceries service will double over the next eight years, as more people switch to a mixture of shopping online and in stores. The retailer announced the forecast as it opened its purpose built, online fulfillment centre in Bromley-by-Bow – a milestone in the retailer’s plans to help customers in London shop whenever and wherever they want.
Laid out in aisles, like an enormous supermarket, the online fulfillment centre in East London is 185,000 sq. ft. and has the capacity to fulfil 25,000 customer orders per week. The chilled picking area alone is ten times the size of an average Sainsbury’s convenience store. Once Sainsbury’s colleagues have picked orders from the shelves they are transferred to a giant automated system, the first of its kind in the UK. The automated system operates 1.5km of conveyor belts which can carry over 7,000 crates per hour to Sainsbury’s vans.
To ensure its fleet of over 160 vans make deliveries on time, day and night, the site has its own fuel pumps and van servicing area.
The centre also has a bakery where professional bakers, trained at Sainsbury’s bakery college will bake hundreds of loaves from scratch, every day, just as bakers do in Sainsbury’s stores.
Nearly 500 people have already been recruited to work at the centre and Sainsbury’s expects to recruit another 430 colleagues by 2020
Clodagh Moriarty, Sainsbury’s Director of Online commented: “Operating day and night, this state-of-the-art centre, with its cutting edge technology will enable us to handle exceptional volumes at high speed.
“The additional capacity provided by the centre means that, working with our 30 London stores which pick online orders, we’ll be able to keep up with demand for our service in London, which we expect to double over the next eight years.”
Sainsbury’s launched its online grocery business in 1999 and, by 2013, sales had reached £1billion. Since then demand has continued to grow. Last year sales grew by nearly nine per cent and orders grew by nearly 15 per cent.
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