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Increasing rent sees Waitrose close Enfield warehouse

Image © John Lewis Partnership

Grocer Waitrose is considering shuttering its Enfield warehouse following rent increases, with orders rerouted through two other sites.

The current lease on the fulfilment centre, which opened in 2020 to manage online orders, is set to expire in 2025. Waitrose has entered a consultation to close the Enfield site this summer, with 545 jobs at risk.

The consultation process is expected to take at least 12 weeks, and no final decisions on the plans will be made until then. The supermarket chain, owned by the John Lewis Partnership, said the closure was not “an option we’re exploring lightly”.

A Waitrose spokesman, said: “With rental costs at Enfield due to increase and capacity elsewhere in our network, we are considering the closure of the site.

“The proposal would maintain our high levels of customer service for and support future growth.

“It’s in no way a reflection of the hard work and dedication of our team. No decision will be made until we have fully consulted with all partners at our Enfield site, who are being supported throughout the process.”

Waitrose is just the latest retailer to consider closing warehouses. Discount supermarket Lidl is set to shutter a West Widlands facility, which was not purpose built and therefore no longer meets operational requirements. Morrisons consolidates some of its sites last year, with its Bradford packing plant closing.

Additionally, Sainsbury’s plans to close two Argos depots over the next three years as part of a “modernisation” of its general merchandise operations across the group, which would see its major warehouses cut from five to three.

It is not just supermarkets, with Next closing a Bradford warehouse which requires “significant maintenance and investment”, with 780 logistics staff within the Toftshaw site affected.

A brand new report looks at how retailers across the UK are managing their warehouse facilities, with some even subleasing sites. The DeliveryX Warehousing 2024 report will be officially launched during RetailX’s festival of research: Ecommerce World Review.

On 27 March 2024, a webinar session will pull out the key findings of the sector report, including a look at how Boots cobots improve staff wellbeing; how Dunelm is turning to solar power; and B&Q has transformed stores into fulfilment centres. Register now!

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