Countdown is set to open New Zealand's first darkstore in Auckland in April 2020.
Increased capacity for Auckland shoppers
The retailer will open its first online dedicated fulfillment centre in response to growing demand for the service. Countdown has been rapidly growing its online sales in recent years, announcing that it now accounts for 7.7% of sales in recent results. The facility will be located in Penrose, to the south of Auckland's city centre, but centrally located for the wider metropolitan areas of Mt Wellington, St Johns, Three Kings, Ponsonby, Mt Eden, Grey Lynn Central, Botany, Manukau City Mall, Meadowlands and Manurewa, which it will serve.
Adapting the online model towards profitability
Countdown will benefit from the new darkstore through freeing up congestion and staff time in store, as well as improving the service, speed, availability and accuracy of orders for shoppers. The centre will focus on home deliveries, with click and collect (Pick Up) orders still serviced through its store network. This enhancements will allow Countdown to deploy the right service in the right location and thus driving a more profitable operation.
Automation a key new development
The darkstore will stock 27,000 SKU's, be partially automated and help meet growing demand, with online grocery sales up 38% in the last quarter alone. Countdown will be the first subsidiary of the Woolworths business to realise the potential of its new partnership with US tech firm Takeoff Technologies. Using automation that will bring products to the pickers, rather then them having to source them themselves. This will improve efficiences, as well as order accuracy. Countdown will also be able to benefit from learnings it can take from Woolworths three existing darkstores in Australia.