Ocado has opened its seventh distribution hub with a new site in London as it ramps up coverage in the capital.

The new depot in White City, west London, is one of the smallest hubs so far at just 10,000 sq ft. It will employ 40 people to sort orders packed at Ocado's headquarters in Hatfield into local delivery vans.

The depot would handle about 9,000 orders a week and would increase capacity in the city, said Jon Rudoe, head of retail. "We've invested in this spoke to make sure city deliveries stay quick, green and reliable," he said.

Ocado will be launching a recruitment drive for the hub this autumn, hoping to add eight drivers per week by Christmas. "We're aiming to have 100 new drivers behind an Ocado wheel come the year-end," said Rudoe.

Ocado is also considering expanding its service west to cover Bristol and the surrounding areas. The move would further increase competition between Ocado and Waitrose, which has a strong customer base in the south west. Last autumn the decision by the John Lewis Partnership to shift its stake in Ocado to its pension fund enabled the two retailers to compete. This was first signalled in April when Ocado undercut Waitrose on some own-label lines.

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