Marks & Spencer has officially opened its 1.1 million sq ft distribution centre at Bradford – the first of four huge sites that are planned to replace the existing network or more than 100 warehouses.
The centre was officially opened by Sir Stuart Rose, chairman of Marks & Spencer, and the leader of Bradford Council, councillor Ian Greenwood.
The building, at ProLogis Park, is one of the largest warehouses in the UK and will serve all M&S stores in the UK with store equipment such as racking as well as furniture products. Together they account for about two thirds of the space at the site.
Next year, M&S plans to bring online an ambient food operation and there are also plans to use some of the space for clothing. When fully operational, the site will employ more than 1,200 people. There are 134 loading bays.
Darrell Stein, M&S logistics and IT director, said: “Bradford will deliver better service and better availability for our customers and it is a key part of our strategy to prepare our supply chain for the future. As an area, Bradford has fantastic transport links, a rich pool of resource and talent and has provided us with the support to deliver a facility to be proud of.”
The site is just off the M606 giving good access to the north west via the M62 as well as population centres along the M1. About 17 per cent of the UK’s population live within an hour of the site.
The centre took 205 working days to construct and is carbon neutral, with a BREEAM rating of excellent.
Andy Griffiths, managing director of developer ProLogis UK, said the building offset 110 per cent of the carbon generated enabling it to meet the “Planet Positive” criteria.
Councillor David Green, Bradford Council’s executive member for regeneration and economy, said: “This site will provide hundreds of jobs for residents, contribute millions of pounds to our economy over many years and act as a catalyst for further growth. “Marks & Spencer’s choice of Bradford is clear evidence of the district’s ability to provide the infrastructure and skills required by market-leading businesses.”
The Bradford development is part of a major programme of supply chain developments which also includes an overhaul of IT systems. In particular, M&S is rolling out SAP across the business and implementing an improved stock management system to provide more accurate real-time stock level information.
The next of the four distribution centres will be in the Midlands and M&S is looking at potential sites. The Midlands site will be a combined national distribution centre and dedicated e-commerce facility. The aim is to have it up and running by the Summer of 2012.