The John Lewis Partnership says it’s to create 500 new jobs because it takes management of a large distribution centre to satisfy an growth in on-line gross sales.
The proprietor of the John Lewis division retailer chain and Waitrose supermarkets mentioned it had signed an settlement with Tesco to lease a a million sq ft web site at Fenny Lock in Milton Keynes for 11 years.
It mentioned the transfer mirrored “rising buyer demand for on-line orders” by way of the John Lewis web site, as retailer operations have been disrupted by COVID-19 lockdowns.
The partnership mentioned on-line gross sales now accounted for greater than 60% of John Lewis complete gross sales – up from 40% pre-pandemic.
It mentioned that the brand new warehouse, to be operational subsequent yr, could be its second largest of 12 distribution centres nationally – behind its sprawling web site at Magna Park simply 4 miles away.
The funding marked a uncommon piece of fine information for workers – often known as companions – underneath boss Dame Sharon White who has cancelled its famous bonus and closed under-performing John Lewis shops throughout the group to spend money on on-line capabilities amid the stampede for digital orders from retailers nationally.
It has resulted within the lack of nearly 4,000 jobs throughout the group in simply over a yr – the newest cull simply final month by way of a shake-up of store management structures.
Nevertheless, it’s understood that tons of of roles that have been axed have been saved by redeployments – with an replace on the figures anticipated subsequent month.
John Lewis additionally mentioned on Wednesday that it had signed a three-year lease for a smaller warehouse at Bardon in Leicestershire that it could begin to use in time for Black Friday orders later this yr.
This deal, the employee-owned firm mentioned, wouldn’t end in any new jobs as the location was operated by a 3rd occasion.
Andrew Murphy, the partnership’s government director of operations, mentioned of the brand new Fenny Lock web site: “This one-of-a-kind distribution centre represents a incredible alternative to energy the continued progress of Johnlewis.com, guaranteeing that we are able to preserve tempo with buyer demand – each for our merchandise and for our big selection of fulfilment and supply choices.
“We are going to spend money on the location’s automation functionality to help future progress and, over the subsequent two years, we’ll recruit 500 new companions to work on the distribution centre, which we plan to begin working throughout summer time 2022.”