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John Lewis acquires new distribution centre to bolster online growth

The warehouse, which is leased for 11 years, will become its second largest distribution centre after its two million sq ft campus that is located at Magna Park

The John Lewis Partnership has signed an agreement with Tesco to lease a one million sq ft distribution centre in Milton Keynes as the group continues to focus on its online growth. 

The move comes as online sales have grown from 40% to over 60% of its total sales during the course of the pandmeic, with the group noting that the acquisition will help it meet this growing demand for online orders.

The warehouse, which is leased for 11 years, will become its second largest distribution centre after its two million sq ft campus that is located at Magna Park in Milton Keynes.  

The group is also planning to invest £50m in its website and app this year, whilst creating more virtual services and events, with a further £100m to be committed to its online growth over the course of a five-year strategy.  

John Lewis has also signed a three-year lease agreement for a 300,000 sq ft distribution centre at Bardon, Leicestershire which it will start using this month ahead of Black Friday this year.  

Andrew Murphy, partner and executive director of Operations, said: “This one-of-a-kind distribution centre represents a fantastic opportunity to power the continued growth of Johnlewis.com, ensuring that we can keep pace with customer demand – both for our products and for our wide range of fulfilment and delivery options.

“We will invest in the site’s automation capability to support future growth and, over the next two years, we will recruit 500 new Partners to work at the distribution centre, which we plan to start operating during summer 2022.” 

He added: “We will use the Fenny Lock site to fulfill customer orders for fashion, small home furnishing items and technology products. 

“The proximity to our Magna Park campus will enable us to combine more customer orders, reducing both the number of packages we create by approximately one million per year,  and the number of lorries on the road, helping us to meet our target of being net zero carbon by 2035.”

The group currently uses 10 distribution sites across the UK to fulfill online and shop orders: Magna Park sites 1,2 and 3 in Milton Keynes, Blakelands in Milton Keynes, Brackmills in Northampton, Grange Park in Northampton, Corby in Northamptonshire, Redditch in Worcestershire, the Waitrose National Distribution Centre in Milton Keynes, and an ancillary site in Northampton.

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