Sainsbury’s To Open First ‘Dark Store’ And Launch Same-Day Delivery Service

In the wake of Amazon’s launch into the grocery sector, Sainsbury’s is ramping up its online activities with plans to open its first so called ‘dark store’ and roll-out a same-day delivery service.

The new 185,000 sq. ft. online fulfilment centre is due to open this autumn in Bromley-by-Bow, East London. The site will employ 900 people by 2020 and service the group’s online orders in the capital using the latest automation and picking technology.

Sainsbury’s online orders are currently picked from its supermarket stores. Whilst this model will continue, the group said this new specialist centre will help it keep pace with demand in London, fulfilling another 25,000 orders per week.

Robbie Feather, Sainsbury’s Director of Online, said: “Demand for our online delivery service in the capital continues to grow. We expect this trend to continue as more and more customers enjoy the flexibility of multi-channel shopping using our groceries website and app, in addition to visiting stores.”

Meanwhile, six weeks on from the launch of AmazonFresh, which offers same-day delivery to its Prime members in London, Sainsbury’s revealed that it is trialling a similar service at three stores in London and the South East. The three stores taking part in the trial are located in Streatham Common, Richmond and Brookwood in Surrey. Customers who order by 12pm will be able to receive their shopping in four to six hours, dependent upon whether they choose to ‘Click & Collect’, or book a home delivery. Assuming the trials are successful, Sainsbury said that the service will be available in 30 stores by Christmas.

Feather commented: “As our online sales grow we are seeing an increasing proportion of orders placed for next day delivery, so this trial is a natural next step in delivering our strategy to help customers shop whenever and wherever they want.”

Sainsbury’s launched its online grocery business in 1999 and, by 2013, sales had reached £1bn. Since then demand has continued to grow with sales last year up by nearly 9%. The retailer recently announced plans to double the number of Click & Collect groceries sites by the end of the next financial year, taking the total to 200.

NAM Implications:
  • Sainsbury’s poised to optimise online speed, efficiency and convenience…
  • Are you?
  • BTW who pays the piper? i.e. Covers the cost per order and fee shortfall?