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Sainsbury’s to open first distribution center for online business

Published 16 October 2013

British supermarket chain Sainsbury’s plans to open its first distribution center dedicated to online grocery orders within three years in London in response to the rapidly growing business.

The 185,000ft2 center will cater to the increasing demand for online shopping in southeast England and is expected to serve 20,000 online customers a week.

Named 'dark store,' the center would be located in Bromley-By-Bow, east London. Catering to only the online orders, the center would not be open to the public.

Sainsbury's has not disclosed the amount of investment in the new site, but a source familiar with the matter disclosed that the facility is expected to create 375 jobs.

Online grocery shopping has emerged as one of the fastest growing areas in the UK.

Sainsbury's online business is reported to be growing at a rate of 15% a year, with the chain currently delivering to more than 190,000 customers a week. It recorded annualized sales of £1bn in September 2013, reported Reuters.

The new dark store is also seen as a response to the similar move by other two biggest grocers Tesco and Wal-Mart's Asda, which have invested in specialist centers to tackle online demand and support traditional stores.