The Co-operative Group has today unveiled its new £25 million distribution centre (DC) in Newhouse, Lanarkshire, which will employ a total of 1,000 staff when fully operational later this year.
Serving 618 stores in Scotland and Northern Ireland, the site will replace the retailer’s Pitreavie DC, which closed earlier this year, and its Cumbernauld and Harthill centres scheduled to close before the end of 2011.
Co-op is currently encouraging as many staff as possible from the three discontinued sites to transfer to the Newhouse operation, located just off the M8 near Glasgow.
Today’s developments are part of the business’s major food logistics network overhaul and improvement strategy, which was required after the acquisition of Somerfield in 2009 and which aims to improve the performance of the Co-op supply chain.
Peter Marks, The Co-operative’s Group CEO, said: “Our new regional DC is also a major investment in and commitment to the local community and will not only provide major employment locally but will also help further boost the local economy for many years to come.”
The 503,000 sq ft multi-temperature depot will be fully operational by September, and has an expected output of 60 million cases a year as well as operating a fleet of 370 lorries and 140 forklift trucks and low-level order pickers.
Co-op’s acquisition of Somerfield, which was completed this spring, helped the company become the fifth largest grocer in the UK, and its management team deems the new distribution facilities a necessary requirement for a retailer of its size.
However, supply chain changes in Scotland represent just a small part of a wider transformation currently being implemented by the Co-op.
In March the group announced that it will invest a further £70 million to complete the upgrading of its food logistics network following the incorporation of the ex-Somerfield Lea Green depot into the business, whilst a new DC near Bristol is scheduled to open in 2012.
Marks added: “Newhouse is the latest phase in the ongoing development of our logistics operation nationwide, which at the end of these major changes will mean we will have an efficient and modern logistics network that will reflect The Co-operative’s position as one of the UK’s ‘big five’ food retailers.”