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Boden plans US distribution hub

UK home shopping retailer Boden is to open a 60,000sq ft distribution hub in Pennsylvania, as part of its plans to grow the business in the US.

The distribution, fulfilment and call centre will open next year, although a location has yet to be confirmed.

Managing director Julian Granville said: "About 30% of our sales come from the US, both from mail order and online." He declined to give figures, but said the US business was profitable.

He added: "We've proved there's a strong market there and in order to exploit the opportunity to the full and give our customers a great service, we need to build some operational infrastructure and capacity."

Boden launched in the US in 2002 and currently uses a third-party operator based in Florida to handle its fulfilment and distribution. The new centre will initially only handle returns, but is expected to eventually take on all of the third-party operations, bringing them entirely in-house.

"We're starting relatively small and we're not getting rid of our third party immediately. It will be a staged transition," said Granville.

Boden received a US$511,000 (£259,841) financial package from Pennsylvania's state government to help with the centre's creation. The funding comprises a grant from the Opportunity Grant Program, plus Job Creation Tax Credits and Customized Job Training funds.

Boden, whose total sales are £102 million, will invest US$650,000 (£330,492) in the local and regional economy and create at least 160 jobs in Pennsylvania in the next three years.

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