Lidl Luton RDC 059 SA

Source: Lidl

Lidl opened its biggest regional distribution centre in the world in September 2023, at 1.2 million sq ft, in Luton

About 100 Lidl warehouse workers are entering a consultation with the discounter over the closure of a legacy facility in Walsall.

Workers at the facility are being given the choice between redeployment within Lidl’s network or redundancy when the site ceases operation in 12 months.

Lidl said it hoped to redeploy the vast majority at alternative sites, including its nearby Wednesbury warehouse.

The Walsall facility was acquired by Lidl in 2008. The building is 50 years old and considered no longer fit for purpose as the discounter invests in expanding and modernising its logistics capabilities elsewhere.

In a wider logistics restructure, Lidl is also creating two new managerial roles, to replace two existing positions within teams. The aim is to improve the ratio of managers per team member and allow more time for leaders to engage with individual workers.

Lidl said it planned minimal overall headcount change and was offering the small number of workers impacted a guaranteed interview for the new roles.

The supermarket said it was closely supporting all individuals impacted and aimed to retain as many workers as possible within the business.

On the Walsall consultation, a Lidl spokeswoman said: “In recent years we have invested significantly in the expansion and optimisation of our warehouse infrastructure, to support our growing operations across the country.

“Since 2008, our Walsall facility has been a key support function for our stores and distribution centres. However, the site itself is not purpose-built having been constructed around 50 years ago and, with multiple buildings of varying ages, it is no longer able to meet our operational requirements.

“With regret, we are proposing the closure of this location with a view to consolidating operations within our newer warehouse facilities nearby. Our focus will be on supporting all impacted colleagues and we are proposing to offer alternative roles at nearby sites, such as at our Wednesbury warehouse, where possible.”

On the wider logistics restructure, she said: “We have recently conducted a review of one of the team structures within our warehouses, to ensure our logistics function is set up as effectively as possible for our growing business, whilst also supporting and developing colleagues.

“As a result, we have proposed the creation of two new management positions to improve the ratio of managers to team members. Combined with additional investments in dedicated training packages, this will allow warehouse leaders to commit more time to individual colleagues, supporting both engagement and performance development.

“A small number of colleagues’ roles will be impacted by this change, but we are inviting them to apply for the new positions created and are supporting them through this consultation.”

Lidl opened its biggest regional distribution centre in the world in September 2023, at 1.2 million sq ft, in Luton. It is also its first to feature automation.

The discounter also recently secured planning permission for a 600,000 sq ft facility on a 38-acre site in Gildersome, Leeds.