Feb 26, 2021

Ocado ramps up capacity to reach larger swath of UK

Ocado is launching smaller versions of its automated warehouses more widely across the UK as it steps up its expansion outside south-east England and addresses the shortage of capacity that constrained the business during the Covid-19 pandemic. Tesco ended the year with weekly capacity of 1.5m orders compared with Ocado's 374,000. Ocado's agreement with M&S envisaged adding capacity equivalent to eight standard-size centres over the next 12 years, enabling it to reach more of the UK. Its northernmost fulfilment centre in England is in Warwickshire, and half of that unit's capacity is devoted to serving Morrisons customers under a 2013 agreement between the two companies. Luke Jensen, who runs Ocado's solutions business, said the Bristol centre would save the cost of transporting customers' orders long distances and free up capacity in existing centres. With less than half the capacity of a traditional centre - it can dispatch about 30,000 orders each week - such facilities are quicker and cheaper to build and reach full capacity earlier.

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