M&S is to close its Hardwick, Warrington distribution centre in September, putting around 450 jobs at risk.
The 495,000 sq ft DC, which is the current focal point of the retailer’s clothing and home logistics system for distributing home and clothing products across Scotland and North West England, will be transformed into a mechanised clothing distribution centre, serving 150 stores in the South East.
M&S will also cease operations at its Neasden, north London DC, and transfer the work to other sites in its network.
The site will be replaced by a new distribution centre in Welham Green, Hertfordshire, which will require around 500 employees to be hired. M&S has appointed DHL to run the new DC, which is due to open next year.
The new centre is designed to move M&S’ products from suppliers to stores faster and at a lower cost by creating a single-tier clothing and home logistics network. M&S is striving to form a smaller network of large DCs, strategically placed across the UK.
The retailer’s third-party logistics supplier for Hardwick, and DHL, are currently in consultation with around 450 M&S employees regarding their employment.
This is the latest change from M&S as part of its five-year transformation programme aiming to make the retailer faster and more commercial.
“Closing Hardwick will help to remove some complexity from our network and speed up our supply chain,” said Gordon Mowat, director of clothing and home supply chain and logistics at M&S. “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.”