John Lewis is to open a second distribution centre at Magna Park in Milton Keynes, to fulfil orders both from the retailer’s online business and to its 39 shops around the UK.
It has signed a 30-year lease on the 675,000 sq feet warehouse, which will be situated adjacent to its existing DC at Magna Park which opened in 2009.
Operations will be relocated from its current site at Park Royal in north London, subject to consultation, which will affect up to 560 jobs. 200 new jobs will be created at a new smaller delivery hub in London, as well as the 450 jobs in Milton Keynes.
Operations director Dino Rocos said: “We are constantly striving to improve the service that we offer to our customers. For the supply chain this means improving availability. Magna Park gives us the space we need and allows us to continue to build on the improvements we have made in providing better service to our shops and customers at a lower cost.
“We recognise the high level of talent and valuable experience that currently exists within Park Royal and we hope that, if we proceed with the proposal to close Park Royal, as many partners as possible will be able to continue to contribute to the business in a new role.”
The DC will have automation equipment designed to issue stock cost effectively little and often, based on demand. The aim is to enable John Lewis to fulfil more items direct to customers from its central DCs.
* John Lewis has also set out plans to invest £32m in a store refurbishment programme over the coming year. The biggest single investment will be the £16m redevelopment of the High Wycombe store which will see 35,000 sq ft of back-office space converted to increase the shop’s selling area by one third.