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Marks & Spencer announces distribution centre closure as it consolidates network

A week after Shop Direct announced the planned closure of three of its warehouses in Greater Manchester, Marks & Spencer has announced that its Hardwick distribution centre (DC) on Hardwick Grange, near Warrington is to close. The DC, which serves stores in the north west and Scotland, will close in September. Marks & Spencer announced that it would cease operations at its Neasden, North London distribution centre in January.

The move is part of the company’s plans to create a single-tier clothing and home logistics network which will allow it to move products from suppliers to stores faster and at lower cost through a smaller network of large DCs, strategically placed across the UK.

The site is currently operated by XPO Logistics with transport operations provided by DHL.  The two also worked together on the Neasden site. The companies have entered into a period of consultation with the 450 workers on site at Hardwick.

Like Shop Direct with its plans for an automated warehouse Marks & Spencer is in the process of automating its DC in Bradford so it can now handle more capacity.

Marks & Spencer has also announced that it has appointed DHL to operate its new South East DC at Welham Green following a competitive tender.  The 495,000 sq ft site is currently being mechanised and fitted to M&S specifications and will serve 150 stores in the South East. It will open in 2019 with around 500 staff.

Gordon Mowat, director of clothing and home supply chain and logistics, said: “Closing Hardwick will help to remove some complexity from our network and speed up our supply chain,” he said.

The M&S Clothing & Home distribution network currently comprises of 18 sites including large DCs in Castle Donington, Bradford and Swindon. The closure of its distribution centre in Neasden is due to be completed early next year.

Image credit: Marks & Spencer