Governor Cooper Announces Kroger Will Build High-Tech Customer Fulfillment Center in Cabarrus County and Create Nearly 700 Jobs
The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR), America’s largest grocery retailer, announced it will offer more Americans delivery through the addition of a new customer fulfillment center in Concord, North Carolina. Powered by the Ocado Group (LSE: OCDO), the fulfillment center will combine vertical integration, machine learning, and robotics to provide an affordable, friendly, and fast fresh food delivery service as part of the company’s seamless ecosystem. The combined investment for this project will be $139 million and is set to create nearly 700 jobs.
“As e-commerce continues to grow, I’m pleased Kroger will locate this highly advanced fulfillment center in our state,” said Governor Cooper. “From our hard working and skilled people to our advanced transportation networks and overall business climate, North Carolina offers the right ingredients for a modern business to succeed.”
“Kroger is delivering a concept that will revolutionize local commerce,” said Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners Chair Steve Morris. “They’re bringing creativity and innovation to our lives. That aligns with our expectations of innovative business. It’s exciting to know that the residents of Cabarrus County will be among the first in the nation to benefit from it.”
The Kroger Co. serves customers across a family of stores like Kroger, Harris Teeter, Ralphs, and Fred Meyer, among many others. Kroger Fulfillment Network, LLC (KFN), the subsidiary leading the project, is a vertically integrated network for ambient, chilled, and frozen groceries. Using artificial intelligence, advanced robotics, and automation, KFN operates with proprietary technology to allow for affordable, friendly, and fast delivery of fresh food and household essentials to customers.
“The acceleration of our delivery business continues with the development of an additional customer fulfillment center, advancing our commitment to creating career opportunities and serving shoppers fresh food fast through interconnected, automated, and innovative facilities and last-mile solutions across America,” said Gabriel Arreaga, Kroger’s senior vice president and chief supply chain officer. “We thank Governor Roy Cooper for his collaboration and support of this project, and the company looks forward to serving new and existing customers across North Carolina.”
“The jobs of the future are changing, but our state’s commitment to build a skilled, inclusive, and diverse workforce remains the same,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “As our new First in Talent strategic plan makes clear, investments in our educational and training systems will keep our workers well positioned for the workplaces of tomorrow.”
While wages will vary based on job roles, the average annual pay, including benefits like healthcare and retirement, will be above the Cabarrus County average of $41,255. The total payroll impact from this project on the region is expected to reach more than $29 million, each and every year.
“In Concord, we’re all about high-performance living; we’re continuously working to enhance our community through better, faster and more efficient services, and creating a place where people want to come to work, live, and play,” said Mayor Bill Dusch. “Kroger is a well-established and trusted household name and will bring more than 700 good-quality jobs to Concord. We’re thrilled to have their investment in our city.”
KFN’s project in North Carolina will be facilitated by a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee earlier today. Over the course of the 12-year term of this grant, the project is estimated to grow the state’s economy by $820.8 million. Using a formula that takes into account the new tax revenues generated by 692 new jobs, as well as the company’s required project investment, the JDIG agreement authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $2.3 million, spread over 12 years.
State payments only occur following performance verification by the departments of Commerce and Revenue that the company has met its incremental job creation and investment targets. JDIG projects result in positive net tax revenue to the state treasury, even after taking into consideration the grant’s reimbursement payments to a given company.
“Kroger’s selection of Concord and Cabarrus County for this large fulfillment center is welcome news for our region,” said N.C. Senator Paul Newton. “These new jobs and investment will help many families in our area for years to come.”
“We have been working with this project team for a long time and we are happy to finally be able to share this exciting concept with the community,” said Cabarrus EDC Executive Director Page Castrodale. “Their investment will no doubt have a significant impact on our citizens and others in the region because of the financial investment and job opportunities, but also because this type of service makes Cabarrus County an even more attractive place to live. The EDC has had a very busy year and this win is a great way to cap it off.”
Partnering with the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina on this project were the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System, the North Carolina Department of Transportation, Cabarrus County, the City of Concord and the Cabarrus Economic Development Corporation.