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Shop Direct to relocate fulfilment centre putting 2,000 jobs at risk

Shop Direct has unveiled plans to relocate its fulfilment operations to a new location in the East Midlands, putting the jobs of nearly 2,000 permanent and agency staff at risk.

The etailer, which owns brands including Littlewoods and Very, said it plans to upgrade its fulfilment capabilities by creating an automated, 500,000 sq ft distribution and returns centre in the East Midlands.

It said the move will impact 1,177 permanent Shop Direct colleagues and 815 agency colleagues, with redundancies anticipated as a result of three site closures. It has entered into consultation with trade union Usdaw and will also be consulting with colleague representatives.

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 wouldn’t meet the group’s future operational ambitions.

Shop Direct interim group CEO Derek Harding said: “This is a tough day for the business and we know how difficult this news will be to hear for our teams in Shaw, Little Hulton and Raven. However, these proposals are necessary for our future and to enable us to continue to grow and meet rising customer expectations.”

Shop Direct said the site’s new position in the East Midlands, adjacent to the M1 and East Midlands Airport, with its own rail freight terminal, will 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.

Development of the site at East Midlands Gateway is due to start next month and is expected to be fully operational by 2021. The group will begin existing fulfilment sites in Greater Manchester from mid-2020.

The etailer said around 500 permanent roles will be created at the new site and this is expected to increase by an additional 200 to 300 agency colleagues during peak periods.

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