Co-op Food given go-ahead for new “future-proof” distribution centre

Co-op Food supermarket has been approved planning consent to build a brand new regional distribution centre in the south as the retailer looks to “future proof” its operations.

The new Symmetry Park, Biggleswade location is situation just off the A1 and is scheduled to open in 2022, supporting Co-op’s continued growth plans for London, the South and the South East.

The 661,000 sq ft site will create up to 1,200 jobs after Co-op secured a 20-year lease for the property.

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

“The infrastructure and site selection will deliver greater agility, scale and efficiency – improving service and availability at existing stores while building capacity to support our store investment programme and ambitions for continued growth,” said Co-op supply chain and logistics director Andy Perry.

“The new site will provide greater scale while future-proofing our operations. The move will reduce road miles and overall supply chain costs while supporting our new and existing stores in the south and south-east of England by having more of our products closer to our members and customers and the communities in which they live and work,” Perry added.

The news comes a day after Ocado revealed its search for a new distribution centre had been unsuccessful. 

The online-only supermarket retailer on Monday admitted 400 jobs could be at risk as its Andover fulfilment centre, which was destroyed by a fire in February. 

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.

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AutomationDelivery / Supply ChainNews

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