Lidl RDC Luton

Source: Lidl

The £300m distribution centre is set to deliver over 9,400 pallets a day

Lidl has opened its largest regional distribution centre in the world, at 1.2 million sq ft, in Luton.

The facility is half a kilometre in length and could fit three existing Lidl warehouses inside, according to the discounter. Serving 150 stores, it is set to create nearly three times as many jobs as a standard Lidl distribution centre, at 1,500.

It is also the first Lidl warehouse to feature automation, “helping to create even more jobs”, according to the retailer.

Investment in growing warehouse capacity was cited by Lidl in February as the reason it plans to open 25 stores this year instead of the 50 it usually opens annually. Increasing its supply chain efficiency is seen as a way it can improve margins while keeping prices low.

The £300m new DC, in Houghton Regis, Luton, is set to deliver over 9,400 pallets a day.

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Lidl said the building had been “designed with sustainability at the forefront”, featuring solar panels able to generate 2,000,000 kWhs of electricity annually. It means that at certain times of year, the warehouse will be able to run purely on solar power.

The delivery fleet is fuelled by biogas from food waste.

“The fact that Lidl’s largest RDC in the world is here in Great Britain speaks for itself not only in terms of us needing to meet the growing demand from customers, but also in terms of our ambition to grow that demand in the future,” said Lidl GB chief development officer Richard Taylor.

“It is a spectacular state-of-the-art site that our team has worked incredibly hard on to get to where we are today.”

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said: “It’s fantastic to see Lidl investing in the UK and creating thousands more well-paid jobs.”

Lidl warehouse staff receive a minimum £11.40 an hour, rising to £12.30 with length of service.