Sainsbury’s is the second largest chain of supermarkets in the United Kingdom, with a 16.0% share of the supermarket sector.

Founded in 1869, by John James Sainsbury with a shop in Drury Lane, London, the company became the largest retailer of groceries in 1922.

Sainsburys Online Fulfilment Centre

First Online Fulfilment Centre

In 2013, Sainsbury’s board of directors signed off the build of their first Online Fulfilment Centre (OFC), also known as ‘Dark Store’, at a time where competition already had multiple of these facilities across the United Kingdom.

Sainsbury’s launched its online grocery business in 1999 and, by 2013, sales had reached £1billion. Since then demand has continued to grow. In 2015, sales grew by nearly nine per cent and orders grew by nearly 15 per cent.

The OFC officially opened in September 2016.

Big numbers for a giant store

Laid out like a giant superstore, the fulfilment centre is highly automated with 1.5km of conveyor belts capable of carrying over 7,000 crates per hour to Sainsbury’s vans and has the capacity to fulfil 25,000 customer orders per week.

Accommodating Sainsbury’s focus on fresh produce, the chilled section of the centre is be ten times the size of an average Sainsbury’s convenience store. The centre also features an in-store bakery and even a servicing centre for its fleet of 160 vans.

Nearly 500 people have already been recruited to work at the centre and Sainsbury’s expects to recruit another 430 colleagues by 2020.

Growing digital ambitions

Bromley’s opening sits alongside a number of other developments that demonstrate Sainsbury’s increased online and digital ambitions.

Earlier this month the retailer unveiled plans to open up to 200 digital click & collect points at Sainsbury’s stores where customers can pick collect Tu clothing, eBay purchases or DPD parcels – Argos orders can also be collected from 30 of these stores.

Sainsbury’s has previously spoken of the HRG acquisition as a means for it to compete fully with Amazon and John Lewis.


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