Marks & Spencer has revealed plans to develop a new £200m distribution centre at London Gateway Logistics Park which will help cut supply chain costs for products delivered by sea.
When fully operational, the centre will enable general merchandise goods to be transported from shore to store in three days compared to a fortnight now, said M&S finance boss Alan Stewart. It will be able to serve more than 50% of the retailer’s network.
The retailer will begin construction of the 900,000 sq ft centre, in partnership with DP World London Gateway, in 2014.
M&S expects to create “major efficiencies” in its supply chain by shipping to the new London Gateway deep sea container port and logistics park, which opens later this year on the Thames. The centre will create 700 new jobs in south Essex.
M&S will move millions of clothing, home and gift products from ship deliveries at the port directly to the centre, which will serve stores in Western Europe as well as the UK.
Prime Minister David Cameron, who visited London Gateway this morning and discussed global trade with an audience of 200 business leaders, welcomed M&S’s move to the location.
Marks & Spencer chief executive Marc Bolland said: “London Gateway will become our third largest distribution centre in the UK as we transform our logistics operations into a modern and agile supply chain, fit for the future of M&S.
“As we become an international, multichannel retailer, London Gateway will help us become more efficient by cutting costs and locating our supply chain closer to our stores and our international markets. It will also help us deliver against our Plan A objectives by removing road miles and emissions from our network.”
M&S is also planning to use the rail network being built at London Gateway, which will link to the rail terminal at the M&S distribution centre in Castle Donington.
DP World London Gateway chief executive Simon Moore added: “Marks & Spencer will have a world-class distribution centre connected to a world-class deep-sea port providing more reliability and efficiency for its business.”
At full development London Gateway port will enable the world’s largest ships to call just 25 miles from the centre of London.