M&S boosts logistics, starts work on new Bradford warehouse expansion
Marks & Spencer is upping its online game. The UK retail giant has begun work on extending its Bradford DC distribution centre to become a second online warehouse for M&S.com.
Part of the retailer’s fast-moving ‘Never the Same Again’ programme, the facility will also create 300 jobs for the local community later this year, it noted.
By this Christmas, M&S said the facility will be able to serve online customers as well as offering delivery through its stores, which act as micro-fulfilment centres.
It noted improving online capacity through reengineering the supply chain is an “important enabler to MS2”, its division set up “to better deliver online for customers”.
This also reflects the shift to online shopping driven by the pandemic with M&S online sales growing 34% in the first half of the financial year. App downloads in 2020 jumped by over 200% with Sparks membership passing 10 million, it said.
The Bradford distribution centre currently delivers both Clothing & Food to M&S stores in partnership with logistics expert XPO. The new investment will utilise existing vacant space within the centre to create a new online warehouse for M&S.com, supporting the retailer’s Castle Donington online warehouse and in-store-pick model.
M&S said the investment in Bradford follows a successful trial over Christmas where its staff manually picked product from the existing automated distribution centre to service online orders – at its peak, the site was dispatching 14,000 items a day.
The extended facility will start with the target of dispatching 35,000 items a day, looking to increase capacity to eventually support around 20% of M&S online orders.
Stephen Langford, director of M&S.com, said: “We’re transforming our Clothing business to be more relevant, more often for our 22 million customers – however they choose to shop. Building Bradford is a key way we’re setting ourselves up for a more digital future at M&S under the banner of MS2.”
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