Waitrose will officially open its £35 million regional distribution centre in Leyland on 4 September, following a phased roll-out which started this month.
The site was originally set to open in summer 2012, but plans were postponed when the retailer’s forecasts showed that it did not need the capacity until 2013.
Located on the Matrix business park, in Buckshaw village, the DC will now service 42 of Waitrose’s branches across the North of England and Scotland, and is expected to expand to new stores in Helensburgh, Scotland, and Northwich, Cheshire, by the end of this year.
It comprises a 360,000 sq ft warehouse, a 50,000 sq ft office space and a vehicle maintenance unit, and, initially employing 300 people, is due to employ a total of 600 when running at full capacity.
The company says the new facility will enable it to expand its portfolio of stores in the area over the next five to ten years.
“Everything is now in place for us to hit the ground running. We’ve got a skilled workforce that will ensure we can efficiently service 44 stores within just six months,” said supply chain director, David Jones.
“Waitrose has a target to open up to ten little Waitrose convenience shops and up to ten supermarkets each year and this RDC will play a key role in achieving that.
“We’re looking forward to being part of the community, welcoming new employees and making a valuable, economic contribution to the local area.”