Shop Direct reveals progress on new fulfilment centre
Shop Direct has completed external building works at Skygate, its new 850,000 sq ft fulfilment centre at East Midlands Gateway, near Castle Donington, Leicestershire.
The facility will bring all aspects of distribution and returns for Shop Direct’s Very.co.uk and Littlewoods.com brands under one roof for the first time. Construction began in May last year and the internal fit out and installation of technology is currently happening ahead of the pureplay taking possession in early 2020.
Recruitment is underway for a number of technical jobs and roles in the management of operations, shifts, teams, stock and inventory, with 500 permanent colleagues to be in place by March 2021. They will be supported by an additional 200 to 300 agency colleagues during peak periods.
Skygate will be served by a rail freight terminal at East Midlands Gateway, with close links to the M1 and East Midlands Airport. Shop Direct says that it will bring significant customer benefits, including an extension to the cut-off time for next day delivery from 7pm to midnight and the potential for same day delivery in the future. Placing the retailer in closer proximity to its imports, carrier partners and customers will also save an estimated one million road miles per year.
The facility will tap automation technology from Knapp, including sortation, item selection, advanced picking and single and multi-order packaging. It will allow products to be processed through the fulfilment centre, from order placement to dispatch, in 30 minutes. This technology, combined with the consolidation of three sites into one fulfilment and returns centre, will contribute an estimated £25 million in efficiency savings per year for Shop Direct from 2021.
Phil Hackney, Chief Operating Officer at Shop Direct, says: “It’s exciting to see the plans we’ve talked about coming to life. The facility will ultimately play a key role in helping us meet the ever-changing needs of our four million customers and positioning ourselves for ongoing, sustainable growth in the future.”