Littlewoods and Very owner Shop Direct is to close more than 1.5m sq ft of Greater Manchester warehouses as it relocate to a 500,000 sq ft Midlands warehouse, as it moves its logistics operation from Greater Manchester.
Three warehouses are to go: the 905,000 sq ft former Littlewood’s warehouse at Shaw, Oldham; the 230,000 sq ft former Great Universal warehouse at Chadderton, Oldham, and the 330,000 sq ft unit at Little Hulton, Salford.
The move means the loss of 1177 permanent jobs and 815 agency jobs.
As part of an 18-month project, Shop Direct reviewed its fulfilment sites in Greater Manchester and concluded that “limited accessibility, layout and loading restrictions, coupled with a lack of space, mean that these centres won’t meet the group’s future operational ambitions.”
Development of the site at Segro’s 6m sq ft East Midlands Gateway is due to start in May 2018, and the group plans to begin exiting its existing fulfilment sites in Greater Manchester from mid-2020. The new site is expected to be fully operational by peak 2021. The new site is close to junction 24 of the M1.
The existing fulfilment operation has supported Shop Direct on its journey from a catalogue business to the UK’s second largest pure-play digital retailer, delivering 49m products to customers annually. Very, Shop Direct’s flagship brand, grew like-for-like revenue by 14.6% last year, on the back of 15.9% growth in 2016 and 17.4% in 2015.
Approximately 500 permanent roles will be created at the new East Midlands site, and this is expected to increase by an additional 200 to 300 agency colleagues during peak periods.