Marks & Spencer is to add an online warehouse to its Bradford distribution centre as it gears up for a “more digital future”.

M&S expects the warehouse, deploying unused space at Bradford, ultimately to handle about 20% of online orders and to be operational in time for Christmas. The extra capacity will complement M&S’ existing online warehouse at Castle Donington and in-store picking.

The Bradford extension plans, expected to create 300 jobs, will support the growth of the retailer’s MS2 division, which has the licence to act as a pureplay in the changing retail environment.

The Bradford premises, run with logistics partner XPO, were tried out last Christmas when staff picked product from the distribution centre to service online orders and it dispatched up to 14,000 items a day. The target now is to increase that to 35,000 items a day, comprising boxed products such as bras and belts. 

M& director Stephen Langford said: “Whilst it’s exciting our stores have reopened, growing our online business has never been more important and part of that is a behind the scenes network, which means we can serve our customers as efficiently as possible. Building Bradford is a key way we’re setting ourselves up for a more digital future at M&S under the banner of MS2.”

In M&S’ first half, online sales climbed 34%.

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