Ocado to open hi-tech warehouse in Bristol, creating 815 jobs

Edmund Heaphy
Finance and news reporter
A delivery van leaves the dispatch area of an Ocado warehouse in Andover. Photo: Peter Nicholls/Reuters

Online supermarket Ocado (OCDO.L) said on Thursday that it will open a new “mini” hi-tech distribution warehouse in Bristol, in a move that is expected to support around 815 jobs in the local area.

The warehouse, Ocado’s sixth customer fulfilment centre (CFC) in the UK, will have the capacity to process about 30,000 orders per week, compared with its Essex centre, which can process as many as 85,000 a week.

The supermarket firm said on Thursday that the facility, which will be built in an existing warehouse, is expected to go live at the end of 2020 or in 2021.

This, Ocado said, will bring new capacity into its network “significantly faster” than full-size distribution centres, which typically take longer to build.

“Despite its smaller size, we expect the Bristol mini-CFC to achieve productivity close to that in our standard facilities,” the company said.

Ocado said customers in Bristol and the surrounding area will now have “a wider range of options for delivery, including placing orders for delivery later the same day”.

The 150,000 sq ft warehouse will be located in Avonmouth, a suburb of Bristol, and will be built by logistics firm St Modwen.

The announcement comes after an Ocado distribution centre in Andover, Hampshire, caught fire in February.

In July, Ocado said that the fire, which burned for four days, cost it £100m.

The incident, which began when a charging unit in a warehouse robot caught fire, dented Ocado’s capacity by around 10%. The centre was responsible for processing 30,000 orders.

It also comes after Ocado and Marks and Spencer earlier this year agreed to create a joint venture — a move that saw M&S acquire a 50% stake in Ocado’s retail business for £750m.