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CINCINNATI — The Kroger Co. today announced it will expand its grocery delivery option through the addition of spoke facilities in Nashville, Tenn., and Maywood, Ill.

“Kroger Delivery offers customers a truly differentiated service,” said Bill Bennett, vice president and head of e-commerce for Kroger. “Orders are transported in refrigerated trucks and delivered by trained Kroger uniformed associates, giving customers an unparalleled white glove delivery experience. Kroger Delivery is part of our rapidly expanding seamless ecosystem that provides customers with fresh and quality products when and where they want it – all with zero compromise and at an incredible value.”

In addition, Kroger Delivery customers will have access to the newly launched Boost by Kroger annual membership program, the company said. For either $59 a year or $99 per year, Boost provides customers with benefits like unlimited free delivery on orders of $35 or more and two Fuel Points for every $1 spent on groceries and general merchandise.

Kroger said the approximately 40,000-square-foot facility in Nashville will extend the reach of its customer fulfillment center in Atlanta by up to 200 miles.

“Kroger is a household name that we are proud to have in Tennessee, and I thank this company for its decision to create more than 180 new jobs for Tennesseans,” Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said. “Our state’s central location and skilled workforce will ensure Kroger’s success in the years to come.”

The nearly 80,000-square foot facility located in Maywood is approximately 20 miles west of Chicago and will work concurrently with the fulfillment center in Pleasant Prairie, Wis. The new spoke will employ more than 180 associates, Kroger said.

“As we continue in Moving Maywood Forward Together, I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Kroger to the Village of Eternal Light,” said Nathaniel George Booker, mayor of Maywood. “Their facility replaces a blighted area while adding new jobs and revenues that aid in the revitalization of our community. We are happy to welcome a partner that works to address our food desert designation and look to evolving collaboration with them.”

Kroger said the expansion announced today represents an extension of a partnership between Kroger and Ocado Group, a world leader in technology for grocery e-commerce. In 2018, the companies announced a collaboration to establish a delivery network that combines artificial intelligence, advanced robotics and automation in a bold new way.

Kroger noted that its delivery network relies on highly automated fulfillment centers. At the hub sites, more than 1,000 bots move along a 3-D grid, known as The Hive, which contains totes with products and ready-to-deliver customer orders.

As customers’ orders near their delivery times, the bots retrieve products from The Hive and present them at pick stations for items to be sorted for delivery, a process governed by algorithms that ensures items are intelligently packed. For example, fragile items are placed on top, bags are evenly weighted, and each order is optimized to fit into the lowest number of bags, reducing plastic use.

After product orders are packed, groceries are loaded into a refrigerated delivery van, which can store up to 20 orders. Powerful machine-learning algorithms optimize delivery routes, considering factors such as road conditions and optimal fuel efficiency.

Vans may travel up to 90 miles with orders from the hub and spoke facilities to make deliveries. Associates at the spoke facility will deliver orders within their service area, adding ZIP codes as demand grows.