1992 job losses as Shop Direct closes 3 sites

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Nearly 2000 jobs are set to be slashed at Shop Direct as the online retailer announced the closure of three of its sites across Greater Manchester.

The online fashion retailer is set to close three warehouses in Shaw, Little Hulton and Raven, consolidating operations to a new site in East Midlands Gateway.

Shop Direct said these sites no longer met its “operational ambitions”, due to limited accessibility options.

Interim chief executive Derek Harding said that the company is working alongside workers union Usdaw to ensure the 1992 job losses, comprising of 1177 permanent staff and 815 agency roles, were dealt with “fairly and sensitively”.

He added: “This is a tough day for the business and we know how difficult this news will be to hear for our teams in Shaw, Little Hulton and Raven.

“However, these proposals are necessary for our future and to enable us to continue to grow and meet rising customer expectations.

“We take very seriously our responsibilities to our colleagues, many of whom have been with us for a long time and who work tirelessly to deliver for our customers.”

Many of these roles will have been replaced by automation, with its new East Midlands Gateway site, due to open in 2020, set to be a “purpose-built and automated facility”. It will reportedly employ 500 permanent roles, with an additional 200 to 300 expected to be hired during peak periods.

Usdaw’s divisional officer Mike Aylward said: “Our members are understandably shocked and devastated by today’s announcement of the proposed closure and relocation of the Shop Direct sites.

“The company has been providing employment for families in the North West for many decades and these sites have different generations of the same families working there. The impact of closures will be huge on hundreds of families, local businesses and the local communities.

“We are seeking an urgent meeting with the company to look at the business case for the proposed closures and we will look to mobilise the support of local MPs and councillors.

“The Union has officials onsite to provide help, advice and support at this very difficult time.

“Today’s announcement is also a very sad day for the North West as Shop Direct was created from the merger of the iconic mail order and retail giants, Littlewoods and Great Universal Stores and these are the company’s last remaining fulfilment sites in the region.”

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