Source: Ocado/M&S

The new customer contact centre will support Ocado’s joint venture with M&S, formed in February this year

Ocado is to create a new customer contact centre in Sunderland to support its UK retail joint venture with M&S.

The online grocer has signed a 15-year deal to let the top two floors of The Beam, a 60,000 sq ft building on a site previously occupied by Vaux Brewery in the city centre.

The site will form an additional customer service hub to Ocado’s Hatfield contact centre, and is expected to create around 300 jobs.

Recruiting for a range of roles will begin this year in a scaling-up of customer service capacity ahead of September 2020, when M&S’s range will replace Waitrose’s on Ocado’s website.

Ocado is to be the first occupant of the new office and leisure complex, on a 26-acre site which has been vacant since the brewery closed in 1999.

Read more: M&S and Ocado forge a transformational deal - at what cost?

“We’re pleased to be coming to Sunderland as we grow our market-leading customer service proposition,” said Ocado customer service and strategy general manager Ian Pattle.

“The new contact centre will support our existing service and we look forward to welcoming new talent from the local area to our team.”

Sunderland City Council leader Graeme Miller said: “We couldn’t be happier that we’ve attracted such an exceptional brand to our city centre and we look forward to supporting them as they build a team and grow from here.”