Analysis: Has another fire put Ocado in hot water?

Ocado van 2

After the second fire at an Ocado fulfilment centre in the space of eight months, Retail Week looks at whether the grocery pioneer has a systemic problem on its hands, or if it has simply been unlucky.

This morning, online grocer and retail technology giant Ocado revealed that overnight “a small fire was reported” at one of its customer fulfilment centres (CFCs) in Erith, south-east London.

The retailer said London Fire Brigade had been called and the blaze had been extinguished. Ocado was at pains to emphasise that “no part of the material handling equipment” – ie: the robotic picking technology – was involved in the blaze, which had started outside the depot in a hopper containing waste packaging.

It was the second time this year Ocado has been hit by fire, after its centre in Andover, Hampshire, was engulfed in flames in February.


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