Marks & Spencer has today announced its intention to close its distribution centre at Hardwick, near Warrington, placing 450 jobs at risk, and that DHL has been appointed to run its new distribution centre at Welham Green in Hertfordshire.
The retailer said the moves were part of its transformation plan and were aimed at creating a “single-tier” logistics network for its Clothing & Home business, which will enable it to moves products from suppliers to stores more quickly. It is therefore moving to a smaller number of larger, strategically placed distribution centres.
Marks & Spencer says it is in the process of automating its Bradford distribution centre leading to the decision to close the Hardwick site, which currently handles Clothing & Home products for stores in the North West and Scotland. It will cease operations in September and work will transfer to other sites across the M&S network.
The Hardwick site is operated by XPO Logistics with transport operations provided by DHL, who have now entered into consultation with the 450 staff affected.
DHL has also been awarded the contract to run a new South East distribution centre at Welham Green following a competitive tender. The new site is currently being mechanised and fitted to M&S specifications. DHL will operate the site and provide transport operations. It is set to open in 2019 and DHL will recruit around 500 staff to work at the site.
Gordon Mowat, Director of Clothing & Home Supply Chain & Logistics, said: “Closing Hardwick will help to remove some complexity from our network and speed up our supply chain. However, it was not a decision we took lightly and it is not in any way a reflection on the hard work and dedication provided by the teams on site. We will do all we can to support our partners through the consultation process.
“On our new site at Welham Green, DHL is the right partner for us. They delivered the best response to the tender, they have a strong track record at other M&S sites and are best placed in terms of costs and speed of operation to help us realise the benefits of our new DC [distribution centre].”
The M&S Clothing & Home distribution network currently comprises of 18 sites including large centres in Castle Donington, Bradford and Swindon. The previously announced closure of the M&S distribution centre in Neasden is due to be completed early next year.