When fully running later this year the centre will aim to deliver 25,000 Waitrose.com orders each week, helping to offer five times more online slots each week in London than before the pandemic.
Staff at the centre will pick and pack 1.25 million products a week which will be delivered by 150 new vans.
The centre is the third Waitrose customer fulfilment centre (also known as dark stores) along with Coulsdon and Enfield that have been helping to meet high demand in London, while a network of Waitrose shops cover 90% of postcodes across the rest of the UK.
However the centre is “the first of its kind” in the sense that it will be opened and operated with supply chain partner Wincanton plc, which has a 20 year relationship with Waitrose, supplying wines and spirits to shops.
Opening with Wincanton as its supply chain partner also means Waitrose could “fast-track” the centre and respond to continuing demand for online shopping slots – especially from elderly, disabled and vulnerable customers.
Additionally the centre will open with FareShare as a partner, meaning surplus food will be put to good use. Waitrose has already donated the equivalent of over 4 million meals to FareShare since starting work with them in 2017.
Laura Burbedge, director, Waitrose.com, 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.”
James Wroath, CEO, Wincanton added: “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.
“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.”