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John Lewis opens £150m customer-centric distribution facilities

John Lewis has opened two new national distribution centres at its Magna Park campus in Milton Keynes.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

John Lewis opens £150m customer-centric distribution facilities

The £150 million investment in Magna Park 2 and 3 is part of a five-year, £500 million investment by the retailer in its online systems and distribution network to create a “customer-not-channel” approach to its operations.

It follows the department store’s £100 million investment in its existing Magna Park site, with the new sites creating 500 jobs which will double at peak times.

Magna Park 3 houses a specialist training centre to give staff the skills to deliver and install products from wall-mounted televisions and lighting to washing machines and flat-packed furniture.

The building has also become the national hub of the ‘two-man’ delivery, used for larger items such as sofas and white goods. John Lewis said the centralisation of the service will simplify the process and will allow customers to receive their orders faster by supporting next day deliveries.

For the first time, John Lewis’s Magna Park 2 campus will combine online orders for hanging and flat fashion and non-fashion items in one parcel. The six level automated hanging system is capable of sorting and carrying 1.6 million garments at any one time and will be responsible for the fulfilment of circa 225,000 different products.

John Lewis said the facilities will drive efficiencies and reduce operational emissions and waste. Customers will now receive an expected reduction of 850,000 parcels a year and 190,000 less miles will be covered by delivery vehicles.

John Lewis’s Magna Park campus will also provide consolidated and more frequent deliveries to all 46 shops, which will receive daily replenishment deliveries as well as the click & collect orders.

The retailer said the new centres will set the business up for the peak Christmas trading period which last year saw online sales grow by 21.4% compared to the previous year. Over the Black Friday weekend, John Lewis distribution teams processed 18% more parcels than the previous year.

Dino Rocos, operations director at John Lewis, said: “These new state-of-the-art-facilities are the latest piece in the John Lewis distribution jigsaw. Our customers expect John Lewis customer experience, not just in our shops, but at every stage of their purchase. This service-led distribution centre will ensure our Partners deliver the John Lewis magic direct to our customers’ homes.

“Not only will this also help customers receive their orders quicker and in fewer parcels, but fewer driving miles and less packaging will help reduce our operational emissions and waste.

“Our distribution operations are at the heart of our business and these advanced facilities enable us to adapt to the ever-evolving retail market. Customers want quick and convenient deliveries and fast replenishment of our shops, this investment puts us in a strong position for the years to come.”

Other recent innovations in the John Lewis distribution network include the introduction of live chat on johnlewis.com and text messages direct from the ‘green van fleet’ when a delivery is on its way. A hub has also been launched which provides customer service teams end-to-end visibility of customer deliveries through the whole journey.

Magna Park 2 and 3 will work alongside Magna Park 1, a £100 million investment, which opened in 2009.

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