// Waitrose will open customer fulfilment centre on May 7
// The grocer aims to double online grocery orders in London by September
Waitrose has announced it will open a six-acre customer fulfilment centre in London this week in a bid to double its online grocery orders in the city by September.
The centre will launch in Enfield on May 7 and will create 370 jobs which will rise to 850 when full capacity is reached.
The facility will eventually add 13,000 weekly delivery slots for London customers.
Waitrose is currently investing £100 million in its online business as it prepares for the ending of its long-term agreement with online grocer Ocado to sell its products in September.
The upmarket grocer has also expanded its online delivery slots during the coronavirus pandemic in an effort to support more customers in doing their shopping, particularly the elderly and vulnerable.
The service has increased by more than 50 per cent in recent weeks to more than 120,000 customer orders per week.
The Enfield centre will work alongside an existing centre in Coulsdon which delivers grocery orders across the South London area.
“Before coronavirus, Waitrose.com was already going through a period of significant expansion, with investment across our infrastructure and website,” Waitrose.com director Ben Stimson said.
“Enfield was planned as a big part of our expansion plans – but in fact it is now also helping us respond as best we can to the huge demand for online slots – especially from our most vulnerable customers.
“One thing that recent weeks have highlighted to us is the importance of online retail to vulnerable people.
“Our shops have always been firmly rooted in their communities but through these challenging times our partners working in shops and delivering grocery orders have been at the forefront of trying to respond to these needs in a way we couldn’t have imagined. We’re extremely proud of partners across the country and the vital role they’re carrying out.”