HIGH street retailer Marks and Spencer has confirmed it will close its Warrington distribution centre with up to 450 jobs at risk.
It is the latest closure for the retailer following on from the loss of its Warrington town centre store last July as part of the brand’s five-year transformation programme.
The distribution centre on Hardwick Grange, Woolston, handles clothing and home products for stores in the North West and Scotland, but will close in September.
Delivery firm DHL will take over its distribution, operating from its South East centre.
M&S today confirmed it has entered into a consultation period with its 450 colleagues at the Warrington site.
The new single-tier network plans to enable M&S to move products from suppliers to stores faster and at lower cost.
Gordon Mowat, director of clothing & home supply chain & logistics, said: “Closing Hardwick will help to remove some complexity from our network and speed up our supply chain.
“However, it was not a decision we took lightly and it is not in any way a reflection on the hard work and dedication provided by the teams on site.
“We will do all we can to support our partners through the consultation process.”
Last July M&S closed their town centre store in Golden Square, Warrington.
It was one of six closures across the country, because of changing shopping habits, as more and more shop online.
The Warrington store was still profitable but M&S were confident their regulars would continue to travel to Gemini or Stockton Heath to continue supporting the brand.
Warrington Borough Council held failed talks with M&S bosses in a bid to get them to change their mind and keep at least the Food Hall element of the business going.
A council spokesperson said: “Marks and Spencer are restructuring their logistics and distribution arrangements and it is very unfortunate that the centre will close.
“We will be working with M&S and its operators to ensure that the staff are properly supported, that there is appropriate future job advice and that the closure is made as smooth as possible.
“We will also be working closely with the borough’s growing logistics sector in order to maximise job opportunities for the employees who are directly affected.”