Asda aims to slash £15m from transport costs by centralising distribution of slow-moving lines through a colossal new depot at Lutterworth.

The 1.1 million sq ft distribution centre which opened this week will enable Asda to move to daily deliveries on general merchandise and slow moving ambient groceries, reducing inventory and making store replenishment more efficient.

Previously, slower movers were delivered to stores three times a week, leading to
stockpiling of bulky and expensive goods such as TVs and PCs in store backrooms, said a spokesman.

Featuring state-of-the-art picking and packing technology, the centre will cut handling costs by 10% and has the capacity to handle 15,000 lines.

When it is fully operational next year, the facility will cut 20 million roads miles from Asda’s network - eight million of which will be transferred to rail and 12 million from better use of the road network, generating savings of £15m, he added.

Crates of general merchandise from overseas will be shipped to ports, packed onto trains straight to Lutterworth, sorted, and then packed onto trains heading for Edinburgh, or trunked out to a network of satellite depots by road.

Separately, a new chilled distribution centre will open in Skelmersdale in October as Asda continues to re-engineer its supply chain.