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Czech Grocer Rohlik Bets $469M on Automation

The Czech online-only grocery delivery platform Rohlik Group plans to invest $469.3 million (or 400 million euros) in warehouse automation by the close of 2025 to improve capacity and efficiency.

According to Reuters, the company will invest 45 million euros initially, with future investments spaced out over the following three years, in a bid to become Europe’s leading online grocery delivery service.

The service is installing a storage bin system with an integrated robot retrieval and order-picking work station due to launch at Rohlik’s German brand in Munich, followed by a rollout in current and future markets throughout Europe, including the German cities of Frankfurt, Cologne and Hamburg.

Reuters notes that the investment comes as Rohik has begun expanding into new markets following financing rounds that allowed it to make its push into Germany, following previous expansions into Austria and Hungary.

Rohlik raised $117 million (100 million euros) in July to reach a valuation of $1.1 billion. Founded in 2014 by web entrepreneur Tomas Cupr, Rohlik saw turnover of more than $352 million last year, helped along by a move to online shopping amid the COVID pandemic.

Read more: In Europe, Funding Pours in for Online Grocery Platforms

As PYMNTS noted in March, Rohlik’s fundraising was part of a larger wave of online grocery financing happening across Europe earlier this year. And the popularity of digital grocery shopping may not go away if and when COVID ever receded.

PYMNTS’ Omnichannel Grocery Report found that 64% of consumers buy at least some groceries online, while 23% are ordering them more often than they did before the pandemic began.

“Let’s get real — grocery shopping has gone digital, and it has really accelerated … as a result of the pandemic,” ACI Worldwide’s Debbie Guerra told PYMNTS in an interview at the time. “I think we’re going to see consumer journeys across omnichannel shopping experiences continue in the future.”

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