Under an exclusive deal signed in May, Kroger will use Ocado’s technology that automates online grocery orders and the UK firm will construct robotically operated customer fulfilment centres (CFCs) in the US. The US supermarket chain is also paying US$248mln for a 5% stake in Ocado.
Kroger said it will spend US$55mln on the partners' first project - a 335,000-square-foot facility in Monroe, Ohio, a suburb north of Cincinnati.
The US firm said the project, which is expected to create 410 jobs, is subject to securing state and local incentives, with the facility scheduled to open by 2021.
Kroger is expected to order 20 CFCs over the first three years of the agreement, with the first three CFCs expected to be ordered by the end of 2018.
Ocado will install and maintain mechanical handling equipment for the CFCs, which the company aims to go live within about two years of each order being placed.