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Doddle railway parcel collection shops to expand nationwide

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The Doddle concept of parcel collection shops at stations is to go nationwide, Network Rail said today.

The announcement of 300 new openings across the UK over the next three years, creating more than 3,000 jobs, follows a trial at Milton Keynes Central station.

Doddle shops are open to all for use, whether they’re pureplay and multichannel retailers, parcel carriers or shippers. They can be used both for collection or returns and enable consumers passing through stations to combine their online pick-ups and drop-offs into one trip. Asos, New Look, Countrywide Farmers and TM Lewin are all early adopters of the service, with Asos offering it as a returns service to 40,000 customers in the Milton Keynes area.

The first five new Doddle shops will be in the South East, including London Waterloo, London Cannon Street and Brighton. All will be open seven days a week from early until late. Commuters can to arrange their parcel deliveries and collections through a website and can also receive notifications through text message and by email.

Doddle will operate as a standalone limited company, equally owned by Network Rail and Travelex Group founder Lloyd Dorfman and whose value is put at £24m. It is headed by Tim Robinson, previously route managing director, Sussex, at Network Rail, and who has so far driven the project. Peter Louden, project director at Doddle, becomes chief operating officer, while chief financial officer Adam Lauffer was previously commercial director at Monetise.

“Doddle was created to capitalise on the booming online retail market and the increasing demands by customers for more convenient delivery solutions,” said chief executive Tim Robinson. “It offers a premium service that is unique in the marketplace, with dedicated and stylish shops, advanced technology and highly trained staff delivering a high-end customer experience. It is the next major step in the online shopping phenomenon, providing a parcel collection, returns and delivery service that has customer choice and convenience at its very heart.”

Robin Gisby, Network Rail‘s managing director, network operations, said: “More people are travelling by rail than ever before and stations have become more than just a place to wait for or get off a train. We’ve adapted to passenger’s changing needs and now offer quality retail, food and drink at our biggest stations, such as London Waterloo.

“Introducing Doddle to stations will enable us to reinvest our profits back into the railway and is a natural next step to help passengers and people who live and work near stations, whose lives are increasingly busy and on the move.”

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