Albertsons Going Big On Microfulfillment

Tim Denman
Editor in Chief
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Microfulfillment is taking the grocery industry by storm, and Albertsons is doubling down on its commitment to the small-scale, fulfillment centers with an expanded partnership.

Albertsons Companies and Takeoff Technologies have formed a strategic partnership with dedicated teams to collaborate on the evolution of microfulfillment capabilities to drive the future of e-commerce order fulfillment. Albertsons, has also agreed to purchase additional microfulfillment centers (MFCs) from Takeoff and is evaluating market expansion opportunities. 

Albertsons Cos. and Takeoff worked closely together on the successful implementation of the company’s first MFC in South San Francisco in October 2019.

“The micro-fulfillment center model is a key element in the store of the future,” said Vivek Sankaran, president and chief executive officer, Albertsons Companies. “It combines the efficiency of automation with the ease of meeting customers when and how they want to shop. In working with Takeoff, we can evolve how the MFC ties into our store and e-commerce ecosystems and accelerate our path to best serve our customers.”

Albertsons Cos. and Takeoff Technologies began their partnership in 2018 with the announcement of two pilot micro-fulfillment centers that would be constructed in existing grocery stores. Albertsons began operating its first pilot unit on October at a Safeway in San Francisco. Another pilot unit is scheduled to begin operations at a Safeway in San Jose, CA by year’s end.

“We are thrilled to broaden our partnership with Albertsons Cos., a clear leader in grocery retailing and a key player shaping the future of e-groceries,” said Max Pedró, co-founder and president, Takeoff. “With our strategic partnership, we’re confident we’ll be able to add significant value to their business and consumers as we work in partnership to define the future of e-commerce.”

Micro-fulfillment centers bring together the proximity of brick-and-mortar stores with the automation capabilities of a large warehouse. Located inside an existing store, micro-fulfillment centers typically hold about 15,000 to 18,000 of the local market’s most popular products.

“In collaborating with Takeoff, we’re able to leverage their thought leadership in e-commerce fulfillment with our expertise in running great grocery stores that meet customers’ everyday needs, and that’s exciting turf for us,” said Chris Rupp, executive vice president and chief customer and digital officer, Albertsons. “By placing an MFC in an existing store close to customers, we can carry a diverse and locally relevant selection of products with the friendly touch of our local team to service the customer."