Struggling Marks and Spencer (M&S) has shifted the focus of its transformation plan to its supply chain, announcing plans to shut its main London distribution centre at Neasden.
The site, in the north of the capital, currently has 380 staff employed by subcontractors XPO Logistics and delivery firm DHL.
Both firms had begun a consultation with their respective workforces, M&S said, adding that it hoped a new clothing and home distribution centre it was planning to open in 2019 would create 500 roles.
It said the new depot, on the site of a former Tesco operation at Welham Green in Hertfordshire, would also be operated by a third party.
The company has embarked on a five-year transformation plan under chief executive Steve Rowe, aimed at slashing costs to improve profitability.
Image: Steve Rowe is leading the retailer’s latest turnaround effort
Just this month, M&S said it would outsource more than half of its 430-strong IT team in a move that will cut costs by around £30m annually.
The least profitable M&S stores have been closed while the pace of food-only store openings has been slowed to allow investment elsewhere.
Its latest sales figures, covering the crucial Christmas period, continued to disappoint as shoppers – again – hunted value, particularly in clothing and homewares.
Gordon Mowat, M&S director of clothing & home supply chain & logistics, said: “M&S is changing and we are transforming our stores and supply chain to better serve our customers.
“The new site in Welham will deliver better service and availability for our customers and enable us to become a faster, more agile, lower cost retailer.
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“The location has fantastic transport links and we’re looking forward to building a great operation in Hertfordshire.
“The decision to move operations from Neasden to other sites within our network is not one we have taken lightly, however it’s an important part of our transformation.”