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Shop Direct rejects proposals to remain in Manchester

E-commerce business Shop Direct has rejected proposals from politicians and unions hoping to persuade the retailer to retain its Greater Manchester warehouses.

Earlier this month, Shop Direct revealed plans to relocate its fulfilment operations to a new facility in the East Midlands, putting almost 2,000 permanent and agency staff jobs at risk.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, local authorities, MPs and the trade union Usdaw met with Shop Direct following the announcement. While the retailer called the meeting “constructive”, the plans remain in place to close its local distribution centres, reports the BBC.

A joint statement from the politicians and union members attending the talks said that they had “conveyed their disappointment” that the “bombshell” plans had not been shared sooner, and that the group had suggested alternatives to relocating, including a “favourable business package” at Broadway Green, Chadderton.

As part of an 18-month project, Shop Direct said it reviewed its fulfilment sites at Shaw, Little Hulton and Raven, and concluded that limited accessibility, layout and loading restrictions, coupled with a lack of space, meant that these centres would not meet the group’s future operational ambitions.

The new centre at East Midlands Gateway will create around 500 full-time roles, and is targeted to be fully operational by 2020. Shop Direct said that the new facility would enable the business to increase its cut-off time for next day delivery to midnight from the current 7pm, and to explore the introduction of same day delivery in the future.

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