Dutch online supermarket Picnic has raised 250 million euros to build an automated distribution centre, that should be able to provide 150,000 families with groceries every week.
Anticipating future growth
In a new capital round, the web supermarket has raised 250 million euros in extra capital from the same investors who already had invested 100 million euros in the Dutch company three years ago. Another 50 million euros is a loan from bank ABN Amro.
Picnic will use its fresh capital for the construction of an automated distribution centre of 42,000 sqm in Utrecht, next to the A2 motorway from Amsterdam to Belgium. The distribution centre should be operational by the end of 2021. "It is an investment that anticipates future growth", co-founder Michiel Muller says about the plans.
The automated distribution centre provides space for the storage of more than 200,000 crates with products, divided into three temperature zones. The products are transported by robotic trolleys to the one hundred sorting, packing and distribution machines.
"Less carrying and lifting"
According to Picnic, the distribution centre will generate jobs rather than eliminate them: "In our new distribution centre we need a thousand people, we are growing fast. The work is becoming more varied and the people have to carry and lift less", Muller says. "Employees then only have to put the crop of lettuce from the supply crate into the customer crate. It saves a lot of hassle", the CEO continues.
At present, Picnic employs 4,000 people, who generated a turnover of 300 million euros reaching 300,000 customers in the Netherlands and Germany. However, the company admits that it is not yet making a profit.