Construction work has started on John Lewis’s second site at Gazeley’s Magna Park in Milton Keynes which will be fully integrated with its current distribution centre.
The 675,000 sq ft build to suit facility will be linked to the retailer’s adjacent 650,000 sq ft distribution centre by a 98 metre bridge, allowing the two buildings to act as a cohesive facility serving stores, online orders and click and collect fulfilment.
The new site will be fully automated including an extensive hanging garment system.
Dino Rocos, operations director at John Lewis, expects to have signed a contract for the provision of a materials handling system in the next few weeks.
“This is part of a broad series of investments aimed at achieving a true omni-channel solution,” said Rocos.
The new site will employ more than 450 people in addition to the 470 currently working in the first warehouse.
This is part of a £40 million investment by Gazeley in the grounds and infrastructure in the area to date. John Lewis had also invested some £70 million at Magna Park.
The retailer is still expanding the first site which was designed for modular growth. It has spent £15 million on mechanised handling systems this year and plans another £12 million outlay for next year to support its expected peak volumes.
The integrated DC is expected to be fitted out and in operation in around 18 months.