M&S to increase online capacity with new automated warehouse

Marks and Spencer have announced they are to increase their online capacity with the development of its Bradford distribution centre.

The announcement comes as the part of the company’s rapid-moving ‘never the same again” initiative.

The warehouse is being set up to serve its digital shopping customer-base, reflecting the shift to online shopping popularised by the pandemic.

M&S online sales grew 34 per cent in the first half of 2020, with app downloads up over 200 per cent.

The carbon neutral building will be supporting the retailer’s Castle Donington online warehouse and its in-store pick model which enabled M&S to respond to local online demand during the pandemic.

READ MORE: M&S doubles international online operations in latest digital push

M&S trialled the system over Christmas where its staff manually picked products from the existing automated distribution centre to service online orders, with the site was dispatched 14,000 items a day during its peak.

The new warehouse will target the dispatch of 35,000 items a day, with the view to increasing the capacity over time.

The facility will house boxed products such as bras and belts, aiming to eventually support 20 per cent of M&S online orders.

“We’re transforming our clothing business to be more relevant, more often for our 22 million customers, however they choose to shop, M&S 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.”

The build is now underway with the aim to be operational for Christmas 2021.

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