Kmart will introduce self-navigating robots to all of its stores, the retailer has announced, alongside opening a huge new distribution facility in Hamilton today.
The new 40,000 sq metre distribution centre, located at the Ruakura Superhub, was developed by Tainui Group Holdings and will service the long-term needs of Kmart’s North Island stores.
Operating alongside its Christchurch counterpart, the two distribution centres will supply 26 Kmart stores across New Zealand.
The facility, which is the size of four rugby fields, will replace the existing site in Wiri, South Auckland, from the end of September.
Kmart chief executive John Gualtieri said the new facility marked a “significant milestone” for the retailer’s growth plans in New Zealand.
“We’re passionate about setting up for the future in New Zealand, and moving to a larger, purpose-built facility in the Ruakura Superhub will allow us to more efficiently do what we do best,” he said.
“Kmart is proud to support the economic advancement of Waikato-Tainui by partnering with TGH at Ruakura Superhub, and it’s been great to see a strong interest in our job opportunities from Waikato-Tainui members and the local community.”
In addition, Kmart today announced it would introduce self-navigating robots to all of its stores. Named “Tory”, after the word inventory, a spokesperson said it would assist staff.
“Each of the 26 stores in Kmart’s fleet will receive the new groundbreaking technology, which is the first robot in New Zealand to use RFID technology,” they said.
“Tory uses this RFID technology to accurately count all pieces of clothing, footwear and accessories in Kmart stores each day by scanning RFID tags on products, creating a better experience for customers by providing up-to-date product availability.
“Typically working overnight, Tory gives store team members more time to focus on serving customers, while also giving them an accurate view of what products their store has and where to find them.
“For Kmart, this technology means that where stores would previously do a stocktake once a year — Tory can do this once a day.”