Retail news round-up on May 8, 2015: Ocado may use robots to pick and pack groceries, Sports Direct HQ raided by police and Whole Foods

Ocado may use robots to pick and pack groceries

Online grocer Ocado is working to develop robots that will pick and pack groceries for shoppers, The Guardian reported.

In plans filed in an application to the US Patent and Trademark Office, the retailer describes a system that operates by using two types of robot mounted on a frame above the stacks of merchandise, removing the need for aisles to let people and machines travel around a warehouse.

The removal of aisles would mean Ocado could fit more goods into a smaller space, potentially improving efficiency and reducing costs.

Sports Direct head office raided by police for investigation

Sports Direct’s Derbyshire headquarters has been raided by police as part of an investigation into Rangers, the Scottish football club in which owner Mike Ashley holds a 9% stake.

According to eye-witness reports, officers asked for the retailer’s chief executive David Forsey by name while in the building. The sports retailer claimed that the “investigation is not directed at Sports Direct or at any of its directors or employees”.

Whole Foods eyes grocery stores at affordable price

US foods supermarket chain Whole Foods is planning to launch a raft of affordably priced grocery stores, The Drum reported.

The move is hoped to cater to its millennial customers who don’t want to sacrifice quality while paying lower prices. A team has been tasked with designing the new, yet-unnamed outlets, and is said to be in the process of negotiating leases. It comes after the retailer saw slower than expected growth in sales of 3.6% during its last quarter.