Stop & Shop, USA

Stop & Shop is a grocery industry leader that operates over 375 stores throughout 7 states in New England.

The challenge: improve customer response and reduce warehouse operation costs 

As a grocery industry leader, Stop & Shop wanted to improve its customer response and reduce warehouse operation costs. To accomplish these long-term goals, a team of corporate, personnel and Dematic set out to evaluate the feasibility of a new automated distribution center. 

The facility is divided into two completely separate warehouses with temperatures ranging from 32° to 90°F. The perishable goods warehouse is 500,000 square feet and contains 44 receiving dock doors, 52 shipping dock doors, 25,625 single deep AS/RS storage locations and (35) AS/RS aisles with dedicated storage and retrieval machine slots. The dry goods warehouse is 620,000 square feet and contains 56 receiving dock doors, 62 shipping dock doors, 38,500 single deep AS/RS storage locations with (42) Dematic AS/RS aisles with dedicated storage and retrieval machines. 

The solution:  flexibility of pick faces, storage, dock doors and space

Inbound pallets are brought from trucks to the AS/RS via WMS directed fork trucks. The operator places the pallet on one of three levels of Pickup-and-delivery stand at the receiving end of each aisle. The WMS system alerts Dematic’s software of the inbound pallet and the HK3000/RF moves the pallet into a selected storage location. Dematic software also receives requests for the SRM to replenish the floor level pick slots in each aisle and to perform empty pallet takeaways. Full pallet retrieval and empty pallet stack removal are accomplished at the shipping end of the system by the SRM as well. The HK3000/RF works 24 hours per day, takes no breaks, almost never gets sick and requires no vacation. 

Using the Rotating Fork design AGV, Dematic afforded them the flexibility of pick faces, storage, dock doors and space to perform their day to day operations with less overhead. The 1.3 million square foot facility with 77 aisle of Automated Storage and Retrieval System (AS/RS) handles perishable and grocery products.   

The results

This one of a kind facility is the most advanced automated grocery store distribution center in North America, storing over 64,000 pallets of product. The Freetown Distribution facility runs 24 hours a day and 7 days a week to supply approximately 350 stores.  Stop & Shop have been able to justify the automation by the quick return on investment the system affords them.  


  • Increased inventory accuracy and reduced cycle counting.
  • Greatly reduced product damage and rack damage
  • Reduced the overhead of extra staffing for all 3 shifts.
  • Produced a safer work environment by having less lift truck traffic.
  • Reduced training time and increased productivity

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