Sobeys Doubles Down on E-Commerce, Opens New Robotic Warehouse in Montreal
MONTREAL, CANADA - In the fight to stay on top of the grocery hill—that’s totally how the saying goes, right?—Sobeys has plans to open a robotic warehouse in Montreal in addition to one already under construction in Vaughan, Ontario. Both warehouses are estimated to cost $95 million, making a $190 million investment in total.
“No one is standing still,” Sarah Joyce, Senior Vice President of E-Commerce, Empire, told The Globe and Mail. “We’ve got a hot hand. We’ve got the exclusive in Canada for the best technology in the world. Why wouldn’t we use that?”
Last year, Sobeys' parent company, Empire, struck a deal with online retailer Ocado to up its presence in the online grocery sector. Currently, Empire has not yet tested the Ocado platform through Vaughan distribution center. However, The Globe and Mail noted that the retailer is betting on the success of these two facilities to help bolster its presence in a rapidly growing sector in the Canadian grocery biz: online delivery.
News of this Montreal facility hit the newswire around the same time that Empire also announced its new online delivery service: Voilà by Sobeys. The delivery service promises to help Canadians stay one step ahead of their busy lives, underscored by a new tag line “Your groceries delivered. Just like that.”
“We are building the most advanced e-commerce infrastructure in Canada,” said Joyce in a press release. “An online grocery home delivery experience like Voilà by Sobeys does not yet exist in Canada. While most players in the industry are focused on store pick models to fulfill their online orders, we are building automated warehouses specifically designed for best-in-class home delivery based on a highly successful model from the U.K. Voilà by Sobeys will deliver Canadians exactly what they want, when they want it, every time.”
The 285,000-square-foot Montreal warehouse is set to be completed in 2021 and will serve Montreal as well as cities as far away as Ottatwa and Quebec City. Eventually, Sobeys plans to have four robotic distribution centers in total.
Will these new facilities and new delivery service help Sobeys rise to the top of the Canadian supermarket food chain? AndNowUKnow will continue to report.