Woolworths has submitted its development application for a new 22,000sqm automated fulfilment centre in Western Sydney, projected to help personal shoppers meet up to 50,000 online deliveries a week.
The customer fulfilment centre (CFC) in Auburn, which is now subject to approval by the NSW Department of Planning, will be built in partnership with food logistics and automated storage system specialists Knapp.
The plans follow the increase in eCommerce sales for Woolworths, which grew 92 per cent from July to December in 2020, and now accounts for around eight per cent of total sales.
WooliesX managing director Amanda Bardwell said she expects to see more customers turn to the ease and convenience of home delivery.
“We’ve seen an extraordinary acceleration in online grocery shopping over the past year,” said Bardwell.
“This fulfilment centre will deliver a step change in our online offer for our Western Sydney customers. With Knapp’s world-class automation, our team of personal shoppers will be able to pick many more orders – offering our customers faster delivery options and extra windows to choose from.”
Investment in the new Auburn site joins Woolworths’ ongoing facility expansions with its micro-fulfilment system in Carrum Downs, Victoria, developed in partnership with Takeoff and uses Kanpp automation technology in October, as well as the opening of its 15,000sqm Lidcombe fulfilment centre in Sydney in December.
The Auburn site will feature warehouses, manufacturing, freight logistics and large format retail, and is set support up to 250-full time equivalent roles and around 440 jobs during construction.
The proposal is also targeting a 5-Star Green Star Rating from the Green Building Council of Australia with the facility set to include rainwater harvesting, solar panels and electric vehicle charging facilities.
Subject to planning approvals, construction of the Auburn site is expected to commence in 2021 ahead of an operational launch by 2024.