Shop Direct jobs at risk in DC shift
Shop Direct is to close distribution centres in Shaw, Little Hulton and Raven, Greater Manchester, putting nearly 2,000 jobs under threat.
As part of an 18-month project, it reviewed the sites and concluded that limited accessibility, layout and loading restrictions, coupled with a lack of space, meant they wouldn’t meet its future operational ambitions. Derek Harding, Interim Group Chief Executive at Shop Direct, says: “This is a tough day for the business and we know how difficult this news will be to hear for our teams in Shaw, Little Hulton and Raven. However, these proposals are necessary for our future and to enable us to continue to grow and meet rising customer expectations.”
The news came alongside the online retailer announcing an automated, 500,000 square foot distribution and returns centre in the East Midlands. Development of the site is due to start in May and it is expected to be fully operational by peak 2021. Shop Direct will begin exiting its fulfilment sites in Greater Manchester from mid-2020.
“To continue to meet customer demand, the business now needs a new, purpose-built and automated facility in a central, well-connected location, that can accommodate all one-man fulfilment and returns operations on one site, and that provides room for continued expansion,” the group says. “The space offered by the new site will mean that Shop Direct can process more orders and use new technology to make the business more responsive, reducing the time it takes to get products to customers."
It adds: "The site’s position in the East Midlands, adjacent to the M1 and East Midlands Airport, with its own rail freight terminal, will enable the business to increase its cut-off time for next day delivery to midnight from the current 7pm, and to explore the introduction of same day delivery in the future. Approximately 500 permanent roles will be created at the new site, and this is expected to increase by an additional 200 to 300 agency colleagues during peak periods.”