400 jobs at risk at Ocado as it scraps search for Andover replacement

400 Ocado picking and packing staff are facing redundancy after the online grocer admitted its search for a new warehouse premises was unsuccessful.

Hundreds of staff working at Ocado’s high-tech Andover fulfilment centre, which was destroyed by a devastating blaze in February, have seen their roles placed under formal consultation.

Since the blaze workers are understood to have been retained on full pay while Ocado searched for a local site which could handle the operations of its former £45 million, 320,000sq ft automated warehouse, utilising over 1000 robots and processing up to 65,000 orders per week.

However, Ocado has now said that its search for temporary warehouse space in the Hampshire area has been unsuccessful, and that rebuilding its former site will likely take two years.

“In light of the fact that the rebuild of Andover fulfilment centre will take at least two years to complete, it is with immense regret that we have commenced a formal consultation process,” Ocado said.

“We would like to thank all of our colleagues for their hard work and we will provide them with all the support we can during this process. We are committed to rebuilding and restoring our operations in Andover, and sincerely hope that we are able to welcome any affected colleagues back to Ocado in the future.”

READ MORE: Ocado says devastating Andover fire started by robot battery charging station

Though around 400 picking and packing roles have been placed under consultancy, it is understood that 450 delivery drivers have been referred to a temporary facility where they can pick up ready-packed orders and will therefore retain their roles.

Last month the Andover Reporter revealed that Ocado had begun installing 10,000sq ft of temporary refrigeration units with a view to recommencing deliveries that month.

The blaze, which eventually required around 20 fire engines and 200 firefighters to bring under control, did marginally dent Ocado’s revenues by 1.2 per cent.

Despite fears it could have a wider impact, Ocado posted revenue growth of 11.2 per cent to £404 million in the first quarter.

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