DIY chain plans £65M distribution centre and pre-lets another

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Kingfisher’s DIY retailing arm, B&Q, is expecting its new £65M, 74,400sq m semi-automated distribution centre at Worksop, Nottinghamshire, to open in late 2005. Once operational the centre will serve as a hub for the storage and distribution of B&Q’s core product ranges, including hardware, tools, electrical and plumbing, to more than 300 UK stores.

The centre will be managed by Exel as part of a new five-year contract. Exel, which expects up to 1,000 jobs to be created locally, will also be responsible for the transport operation, making inter-depot and local store deliveries.

Dave Lowther, director of logistics at B&Q, comments: “This development is critical to B&Q and will be at the heart of our distribution operations for the UK. The facility will open in late 2005 and steadily take in more stock until summer 2006 when the start-up phase will be complete. It is the first B&Q site to contain specialist semi-automation, comprising a fully-automated pallet high-bay and mini-load tote handling system for small parts storage.”

He continues: “In the future, we aim to expand the DC to 93,000sq m to ensure that we can serve our UK market. We are sure that this new DC will support our anticipated business growth and dynamic store opening programme.”

B&Q is also pre-letting a 73,630sq m distribution warehouse unit (pictured) at Redhouse Interchange near Doncaster, Yorkshire, on a 20-year lease with a break option from the fifteenth year at an initial rent of £2.87M per annum, equating to £3.62 per sq ft and subject to a fixed uplift at the end of the fifth year. Scarborough Development Group recently sold the facility to Sydney & London Properties, for approximately £40M representing an initial yield of around 7%.

The unit, serving as one of B&Q’s main distribution centres, has 71,610sq m of warehousing and 1,860sq m of offices on a 21.4 hectare site. Construction of the unit was managed by Teesland, and Pinsents acted for the vendor and Olswang for the buyer.

Redhouse Interchange, at 200 acres, is one of the largest greenfield development sites in the North, with planning consent for 185,000sq m of distribution, warehousing, office space, a restaurant, pub and hotel.

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