Marks & Spencer is to close its Hardwick distribution centre near Warrington, the latest development in a five-year transformation programme that has already led to bad news for several North West locations.
In a bid to become a “faster, more commercial retailer” M&S is creating a single-tier Clothing & Home logistics network, meaning it will operate from a smaller network of large distribution centres.
The troubled retailer’s Bradford centre is currently being automated and can handle more goods, signalling the end for Hardwick, which currently handles products for the North West and Scotland. The centre at Hardwick Grange, Woolston is to close in September.
The warehouse itself is operated by third party logistics firm XPO Logistics with transport operations provided by DHL. Both XPO and DHL have now entered a period of consultation with the 450 employees based at the site.
Gordon Mowat, director of supply chain and logistics for the Clothing & Home division, said: “Closing Hardwick will help to remove some complexity from our network and speed up our supply chain.
“However, it was not a decision we took lightly and it is not in any way a reflection on the hard work and dedication provided by the teams on site. We will do all we can to support our partners through the consultation process.”
The M&S Clothing & Home distribution network currently comprises 18 sites including large distribution centres in Castle Donington and Swindon, in addition to Bradford.
Earlier this year, M&S announced the closure of stores in Stockport and Birkenhead, while it is in talks with Rochdale over its commitment to the Riverside retail project. In 2017, the retailer pulled back from anchoring the Prince’s Gate retail scheme in Oldham.