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Spanish supermarket chain Mercadona has announced it will invest €120 million in automated systems at its four new distribution centres (DC).

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Mercadona is constructing a new logistics platform in Barcelona, exclusively for online orders. It is expected to be operational by 2020, according to Europa Press. ‘Colmena’ or the hive, is the name Mercadona gives to its warehouses dedicated to online orders.

First online warehouse in Barcelona

The warehouse will be Mercaona’s first in Barcelona that is dedicated to online orders. It marks the company's strategy to focus on the online channel, although it will be a while before it is operational.

Goodman Group is constructing the 10,500sq m warehouse, 2,500sq m of which are dedicated to the fresh category, including an area for frozen and refrigerated products. Elements to reduce energy consumption are included in the design, such as solar panels or an electric charging station for vehicles. Its design is also tailored towards online and last mile deliveries. For example, the height of loading platforms has been reduced to better accommodate the smaller vans which are used for city centre deliveries.

Mercadona’s first ‘Colmena’ is in Valencia, the retailer’s home town. It spans 13,000sq m and required an investment of €12M. Both warehouses are focused on improving efficiencies and productivity, which should trickle down benefits to shoppers.

Mercadona has launched a pilot in Valencia to test, learn and improve its online shopping service for its clients, the ‘boss’.

What’s new?

Opened on 21 May 2018, the new version of the online shopping system coexists with the current one, which is still available nationwide. The test version covers Valencia’s city centre and will be expanded to the wider city and nearby towns in months to come. Other cities will be serviced in years to come, with no specific dates given.

A new website and mobile app (iOS and Android) are part of the new model. Mercadona says that these services are more intuitive and easier to navigate, informed by Mercadona’s co-innovation centres. A notable addition is pictures of each product, with relevant product details. The assortment is similar to the physical stores.

Mercadona envisions its service for weekly shops, which has a minimum spend of €50. For now, payment is only via card. Deliveries can be made from the day after order placement, Monday to Saturday 07.00 to 22.00, in one-hour intervals. The order fee of €7.21 remains unchanged from the current system.

Source: Mercadona

Online distribution centre

€12m has been invested in the distribution centre in Valencia. The centre will be used exclusively for online sales. The centre named ‘Colmena' or ‘Hive’ spans 13,000 sq m. Mercadona says that productivity and efficiency are four times that of the current in-store preparation system.

Mercadona has partnered with Valencian transport specialist Subiela. Its vehicles have three temperature zones, with a mechanical unloading system. One of the vehicles supports 15 orders per trip, and the other nine for harder to access areas.

Source: Mercadona
“Mercadona is new to the digital world and we have much to learn. However, we believe that with humility and effort, and thanks to Mercadona's solid structure, we are in a good position to tackle the challenge of selling food online” Juana Roig, general director of Mercadona’s online project.

Spain-based Mercadona has begun hiring staff ahead of its launch in Portugal, which is planned for 2019.

Hiring adds another location for Mercadona

Hiring has begun in Maia, which adds to three other locations in which Mercadona is already known to be planning to open stores; Gondomar, Matosinhos and Vila Nova da Gaia. The stores that are in development are set to have a sales area of about 1,800 sq. m and are, therefore, inline with those it operates in Spain. To support its expansion in Portugal Mercadona is establishing a distribution centre in the Laúndos Industrial Park, in the municipality of Póvoa de Varzim (in Greater Porto). The 17,000 sq. m site is planned to open by the end of January 2019.

New stores to follow new design

The stores set to open in Portugal are all set to be under its ‘Efficient store model’, which improves on shoppers’ in-store experience, by investing in their look and feel, while simultaneously reducing their environmental impact.


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