Waitrose is to open a 940,000 sq ft state of the art national distribution centre at Gazeley’s Magna Park scheme in Milton Keynes, in 2015.
The NDC will handle the distribution of around 25,000 nationally available grocery and home department lines that can be found in Waitrose and on Waitrose.com. It will deliver the national lines via its four regional distribution centres.
Waitrose said the move would also simplify the supply chain and improve the efficiency of handling nationally available lines that have historically had to be sent between RDCs, enabling more sustainable growth.
Supply chain director David Jones said: “The decision to open our first NDC marks a pivotal moment in our supply chain history and reflects our phenomenal growth. Waitrosehas outperformed the market for five years and we have ambitious plans to open 38 store in 2014 and to continue to expand our platform.
“By simplifying our supply chain we improve its resilience and greatly improve our ability to serveour branches now and in the future.”
The retailer is in talks to transfer the operation at the nearby Kuehne+Nagel run Celestia depot to the NDC. Staff would transfer over under TUPE. Consultations are due to start shortly.
Waitrose currently has 307 shops in the UK. It will join sister company John Lewis, which already has a1.3 million sq ft facility at Magna Park Milton Keynes.
* Waitrose logistics operations have been centred on Milton Keynes since the days of Hays Logistics. When Hays Logistics was put up for sale in 2003, the Waitrose contract was considered the jewel in the crown of the business. The Hays business was bought by Platinum Equity and renamed ACR Logistics. Kuehne+Nageltook over the Waitrose business when it bought ACR in 2005.
Waitrose moved into the 318,000 sq ft Celestia building in 2011 using it for ambient grocer while the existing Brinklow site focused on fresh produce.