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Woolworths unveils plans for 22,000 sqm online hub in Sydney

Woolworths has announced its intention to build a 22,000sqm online fulfilment centre located in Auburn, Sydney, which will facilitate up to 50,000 online orders per week.

The development application is subject to approval from the NSW Department of Planning, and will support 440 jobs during its construction phase and a further 250 once operational.

The site is expected to begin construction in 2021, with an operational launch date in 2024.

According to WooliesX Managing Director Amanda Bardwell, e-commerce sales at the supermarket jumped 92 per cent from July to December 2020, and now account for eight per cent of total sales.

“We’ve seen an extraordinary acceleration in online grocery shopping over the past year,” said Bardwell.

“As we look ahead, we expect more and more customers will turn to the ease and convenience of home delivery to reclaim time in their busy lives.+

The announcements comes just days after the supermarket giant said it is working to open up its online ecosystem to new suppliers and partners through an upcoming marketplace offering.

The marketplace, which will be called ‘Everyday Market’ will offer products in new categories, such as homewares and clothing, and will initially see Woolworths Group stablemate Big W sell products on the Woolies site later this year.

The facility will be built in partnership with technology firm Knapp, which has already helped to facilitate a number of Woolworths’ prior online distribution centres. {LINK]

“To keep pace with demand, we need to innovate with new technology to boost capacity and ensure we’re continuing to offer the best possible online grocery experience,” Bardwell said.

“Auburn and our other fulfilment centres play important roles complementing the work of our store teams. They help us better serve the most densely populated areas with the strongest demand for online groceries.”

The proposal also includes plans to continues Woolworths’ focus on sustainable energy, with rainwater harvesting, solar panels and electric vehicle charging facilities.

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