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Countdown opens store one month early to help meet online grocery demand

Countdown has opened its Rototuna store today, a month earlier than planned, to keep up with the surge of demand for online shopping and home delivery services.

The new 4000sqm store will not only help Countdown cope with the rise in online orders in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it also offers Hamilton locals contactless convenience service with a store-to-boot drive-through for online customers who use Countdown’s Pick Up service. 

The new supermarket will also be the first Countdown store in the country to test a range of new technologies when it opens to walk-in customers, including the deployment of a safety robot.

The 6-foot-tall robot, affectionately named ‘Kai’ by the Rototuna team, will roam the store scanning for potential safety hazards on the floor, which the team will then respond to.

Operating 12 hours a day and seven days a week, the retailer said the new Rototuna store will have the capability to fulfil more than 2500 online orders each week and service the wider Hamilton region.

A date for public opening will be decided later down the track, expected to be in late June 2020.

Originally set to open to the public at the end of May, Sally Copland, Countdown’s general manager for Digital, said the Covid-19 environment meant the supermarket needed to act swiftly and change course.

“With New Zealanders staying home for the lockdown, more people than ever want groceries delivered to their door or ordered online for pick up,” Copland said.

“We made the call to open our Rototuna store early as an online-only fulfilment site to help increase our online shopping capacity in the Waikato area and support more customers.”

Copland said they have already closed six other stores temporarily around the country to support online shopping, and last week the retailer opened its first dedicated e-store in Auckland.

“All of this is designed to help increase the amount of pick up and delivery we can offer to Kiwis at this challenging time,” Copland said.

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