LONDON -- J. Sainsbury plc here is opening an 80,000-square-foot dedicated distribution center to service England's burgeoning home-shopping market.
"We hope to have it up and running by early 2000," said Sainsbury spokeswoman Tammy Phillips.
The move to the dedicated warehouse model marks a change in the retailer's home-shopping strategy, which has been to pick items from the store shelves. Other home-shopping services, such as Peapod, Skokie, Ill., have been moving toward dedicated distribution in lieu of picking items from store shelves.
"We have run a store-based home-shopping pilot since 1998, although we were testing various other forms such as order and collect and office shopping as far back as 1996," she added.
The store-based system, however, is not capable of dealing with significant volume without affecting the quality of service offered at store level, according to the retailer.
"We are therefore concentrating our home shopping in our area in preparation for a system based on [geographic region]," Phillips told SN.
The dedicated center is to carry about 15,000 products and consumers can order via phone, fax or the Internet.