Department store chain and e-retailer Hudson’s Bay Co. has outfitted a distribution center in Toronto with a largely automated and robot-based fulfillment system it says can process approximately 4,200 orders an hour.
The company, No. 75 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide and the department store retailer that grew its web sales the fastest last year at more than 34%, per Internet Retailer estimates, says it spent more than C$60 million ($44.7 million) to upgrade the distribution center, which has 300 employees.
The warehouse automation system installed at the center is Opex Corp.’s Perfect Pick storage and fulfillment system. The system uses robots—Opex calls them iBots—to navigate aisles of modular storage racks, select the bin containing the item sought and deliver it to a picking station, where an employee retrieves it. The iBots move horizontally and vertically through the storage grid.
Hudson’s Bay says the installation at its Scarborough distribution center is the largest Perfect Pick system built to date and has 300 iBots traversing 16 200-foot-long aisles.
“This investment in our Scarborough distribution center creates an e-commerce technology hub and allows us to expand our e-commerce business, which is a key component to our all-channel strategy,” says Jerry Storch, CEO of Hudson’s Bay.
The distribution center fulfills online orders for TheBay.com, the e-retail site for Hudson’s Bay. The company also owns Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor and Gilt.com. Excluding sales from Gilt Groupe Inc., which Hudson’s Bay acquired in February 2016 for $250 million in cash, Internet Retailer estimates Hudson’s Bay had $537 million in web sales last year.
Other Top 500 e-retailers using Opex Perfect Pick material handling products include Newegg Inc. (No. 17) and BHFO Inc. (No. 470).
Hudson’s Bay Co. is the largest e-retailer based in Canada. Learn more about it and the growing e-retail opportunity in Canada in the 2017 E-Commerce in Canada Report from Internet Retailer.