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M&S adds new distribution centre ahead of Ocado launch

M&S is ramping up its food supply chain with a new distribution centre ahead of its launch on Ocado.

The retailer, which is set to replace Waitrose as Ocado’s key supplier in September, will open the new site in Milton Keynes.

Operated by XPO Logistics, the 365,000 square foot facility will handle and store ambient products such as tinned foods and cereals. The site boosts M&S Food’s capacity for these products by 60%.

M&S plans to recruit 360 workers for the site.

Committing to offering a wider range of products has been a key part of winning the Ocado deal, as M&S has generally specialised in pre-prepared, refrigerated meals. Last week, M&S announced it had added 750 products to its range.

M&S Food MD Stuart Machin said: “Our new distribution centre is great news for Milton Keynes and a major step forward for M&S, unlocking the value of our food supply chain and supporting our future growth plans.

“Many of our customers’ shopping habits have changed over recent months and our new distribution centre will enable us to respond faster and more flexibly to customer demand, providing greater product availability and significantly improving the service we provide our customers.”

Waitrose has also been preparing for the split, as its deal with Ocado had required the latter to source 70% of its products from the supermarket. In June, the retailer announced it would open a third distribution centre.