Four locations are currently in the running to land a 600,000 sq ft-plus high-spec distribution requirement from online fashion retailer Boohoo.com, Place North West understands.
With land purchase and construction cots factored in, Boohoo expects to spend £150m on the new facility. Although the requirement, which the retailer has said it wishes to be delivered before the end of 2020, has been in the market for some time, a degree of urgency has entered proceedings.
The company last week reported quarterly sales of £120.1m, double those of a year previously, and announced the completion of a £50m fundraising round, stating that this cash would go to the “super site” project.
Boohoo, which has acquired two new brands this year, is aware of a tightening market. And according to agents, the number of sites in the region that could accommodate Boohoo is a short one indeed.
The list includes Omega South in Warrington, and also Bericote Properties’ Florida Farm North site at Haydock. This 90-acre site is advertised as being able to accommodate design & build facilities of up to 1.4m sq ft.
Logistics North, the Bolton site anchored by Aldi, could also be in the running – although at present the scheme’s marketing material speaks of design & build opportunities of up to 300,000 sq ft, the site is in line to be expanded after a successful run, with highlights including the disposal of 43 acres to Lidl in January.
Also in contention could be Peel’s £138m tri-modal facility Port Salford, adjacent to the Manchester Ship Canal.
As one agent told Place North West: “The Boohoo requirement’s been talked of for a couple of years, but it seems to be getting more serious now – land is scarce, and with the likes of Amazon taking up big chunks of space, it’s possible that any current opportunities could be gone inside 12 months. Those sites that can accommodate a requirement of this size will be undergoing some serious scrutiny now.”
Boohoo is in the meantime upgrading and expanding its existing holdings in Burnley, with Barnfield Construction on board as main contractor. This project has already included the conversion of the former Ultra Finishings building into 100,000 sq ft of warehousing and 20,000 sq ft of offices, with the next phase, a £14.5m contract, being for 900,000 sq ft of new build warehousing.