Planning for massive future demand for its online grocery service in London, Sainsbury’s has opened a purpose built, online fulfilment centre in Bromley-by-Bow. This is being hailed as a milestone in the retailer’s plans to win the battle for online grocery sales in the capital. Nearly 500 people have already been recruited to work at the centre and Sainsbury’s expects to recruit another 430 colleagues by 2020.
Online grocery growth predictions
Sainsbury’s predicts that demand in the capital for its online groceries service will double over the next eight years, as more people switch to a mixture of shopping online and in stores.
The huge fulfilment centre had been designed for optimum picking and packing speeds. It has the capacity to fulfil 25,000 customer orders per week.
Laid out in aisles, like an enormous supermarket, the online fulfilment centre in East London is 185,000 sq ft and has the capacity to fulfil 25,000 customer orders per week. The chilled picking area alone is ten times the size of an average Sainsbury’s convenience store. Once Sainsbury’s colleagues have picked orders from the shelves they are transferred to a giant automated system, the first of its kind in the UK. The automated system operates 1.5km of conveyor belts which can carry over 7,000 crates per hour to Sainsbury’s vans.
Everything on site at Sainsbury’s new fulfilment centre
To ensure its fleet of over 160 vans make deliveries on time, day and night, the site has its own fuel pumps and van servicing area. The centre also boasts a bakery where professional bakers, trained at Sainsbury’s bakery college will bake hundreds of loaves from scratch, every day, just as bakers do in Sainsbury’s stores.
Clodagh Moriarty, Sainsbury’s Director of Online said: “Operating day and night, this state-of-the-art centre, with its cutting edge technology will enable us to handle exceptional volumes at high speed.
“The additional capacity provided by the centre means that, working with our 30 London stores which pick online orders, we’ll be able to keep up with demand for our service in London, which we expect to double over the next eight years.”
Hats off to Sainsbury’s for investing in its e-fulfilment future. With the massive predicted growth in m-commerce, it’s right to assume time-stretched Londoners will be glad to click for their weekly shop and know it’s being delivered quickly and efficiently from close proximity. Having an East London hub for this makes logistical sense, particularly when you consider the vast number of new homes being built on the eastern side of the metropolis. A quick trip on the Docklands Light Railway confirms how rapidly this area is being transformed with apartment blocks and new developments flying up in this well-positioned, regenerated area. It feels like a construction site now, but there will be many affluent households looking for a reliable grocery delivery service in the coming years. Sainsbury’s prediction that its London web sales will double by 2024 has got to be close to the mark.
- Sainsbury’s Media Centre