Wincanton has started operations at a new Customer Fulfilment Centre (“CFC”, also known as a “dark store”) for Waitrose.com in Greenford, West London, making it the first supply chain partner to create a dark store for grocery home deliveries in the UK.
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Waitrose.com selected Wincanton as its supply chain partner in order to fast-track the development of the CFC and respond to continuing demand for online shopping slots – especially from elderly, disabled and vulnerable customers. The initial five-year contract was first announced in June 2020 and builds on a 20-year partnership that sees Wincanton supply wines and spirits to Waitrose shops.
The dark store will create some 800 new jobs when it is fully running, with staff picking and packing some 1.25 million products a week for delivery in 150 new vans.
As a result of Wincanton developing and operating the dark store in Greenford, Waitrose.com has added a third CFC to its capabilities in London, complementing existing Waitrose sites in Coulsdon and Enfield to meet high demand. When fully running later this year the centre will deliver 25,000 Waitrose.com orders each week, five times more online slots each week in London than before the pandemic.
James Wroath, CEO at Wincanton, said:
“As the first supply chain partner to create a dark store for grocery home deliveries in the UK, this is an exciting growth opportunity for Wincanton. We look forward to providing Waitrose.com customers in London with the highest levels of service.
“Dark stores will play a huge role in helping supply chains adapt to meet a new set of expectations as more retail purchases are made online and they will better enable businesses to serve customers, at scale.”
Laura Burbedge, Waitrose.com Director, said:
“Waitrose.com now accounts for a fifth of our total business, compared to six percent a year ago. But despite this huge growth we know there are still more people who would like to shop online with us – so this new centre is a significant step in our future plans.”