UK retailer Waitrose is opening a third fulfilment centre to meet consumer demand and provide more delivery slots in and around London.
The new centre in Greenford, West London, will be opened and operated with logistics company Wincanton, Britain's largest third-party logistics provider, which has had a 20-year supply relationship with the supermarket chain. Wincanton features some 5,500-plus drivers to serve its clients.
The partners hope to have the third site running at full speed as early as December.
Some 800 jobs will be created to serve the local area, giving Londoners nearly four times as many Waitrose.com delivery slots compared within the start of the year.
“While we’ve already pulled forward our online expansion plans by six months we know there are still lots of people who want to shop online with us and currently can’t," says Waitrose Executive Director James Bailey. "This is especially the case in London, where we’ve seen a significant and prolonged surge in demand for our online offer. This new centre will help us better serve the London area with a much broader range of slots.”
Waitrose has been rapidly expanding delivery slots across the country and now covers nearly 90% of active UK postcodes. New online fulfilment centres in Coulsdon and Enfield have supplemented deliveries from selected shops in London.
Since the beginning of 2020 and because of the need for delivery due to Covid-19, the retailer has more than doubled the weekly slots that customers can book, to now handle more than 150,000 orders each week. At least 25% of those orders go to vulnerable customers.
The retailer has also more than trebled the size of its Rapid service to 7,000 orders per week in London and Brighton, with at least 40% of slots reserved for vulnerable customers. The Rapid service offers up to 25 products for delivery within two hours.
Plums in store: A bumper crop of British plums has arrived early in Waitrose shelves thanks to perfect growing conditions that have led to them being harvested up to 10 days earlier than usual. The plums are grown by Michael and Christiana Bentley at Castle Fruit Farm in Gloucestershire. This is the first time in 30 years of supplying Waitrose that Castle Fruit Farm have harvested the fruit in June. "It is extremely unusual for us to have British plums harvested in June. We're thrilled to be able to offer our customers such high-quality homegrown produce and the weather has certainly helped this year's crop," Tim Stevens, Waitrose fruit buyer, says.