John Lewis Partnership has snapped up Tesco’s 1 million ft2 warehouse at Fenny Lock in Milton Keynes.
It has secured the facility on an 11-year lease to meet growing customer demand for online orders. Since the start of the pandemic, online sales have grown from 40% to over 60% of John Lewis’s total sales.
Andrew Murphy, Partner and Executive Director of Operations for the Partnership said; “This one-of-a-kind distribution centre represents a fantastic opportunity to power the continued growth of out online website, ensuring that we can keep pace with customer demand – both for our products and for our wide range of fulfilment and delivery options.
“We will invest in the site’s automation capability to support future growth and, over the next two years, we will recruit 500 new Partners to work at the distribution centre, which we plan to start operating during summer 2022.
“We will use the Fenny Lock site to fulfil customer orders for fashion, small home furnishing items and technology products. The proximity to our Magna Park campus will enable us to combine more customer orders, reducing both the number of packages we create by approximately one million per year, and the number of lorries on the road, helping us to meet our target of being net zero carbon by 2035.”
The warehouse, will be the retailer’s second largest distribution centre after its 2 million ft2 campus just four miles away, at GLP’s Magna Park Milton Keynes site.
Last year Logistics Manager reported that the property, known as Tectonic 620, was reoccupied by Tesco temporarily as it sought to mitigate short term demands put upon its supply chain due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite the re-occupation the property remained on the market in the long term before being let to John Lewis.
The property has a floor plate of some 617,393ft2 but the addition of fully fitted mezzanines provides an excess of 1 million ft2. It has 13.75m eaves and is partly racked with a 19,800 pallet capacity. It has 80 dock and seven double height dock doors with parking for 300 HGV and 585 cars. Letting agent was JLL.
John Lewis is investing £50m in its online website and the its app, with a further £100m+ committed to growing its online growth over the next five years.
The company has also signed a three-year lease agreement for a 300,000ft2 distribution centre at Bardon, Leicestershire to be operated by Clipper Logistics. It will have the facility operational in time for Black Friday this year.
John Lewis currently uses ten distribution sites across the UK to fulfil online and shop orders: Magna Park sites 1, 2, and 3 in Milton Keynes, Blakelands in Milton Keynes, Brackmills in Northampton, Grange Park in Northampton, Corby in Northamptonshire, Redditch in Worcestershire, the Waitrose National Distribution Centre in Milton Keynes, and an ancillary site in Northampton where it processes customer returns and technical repairs to reduce the number of items which get sent to landfill.