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M&S launches distribution centre ‘fit for a multichannel future’ as it transforms its supply chain

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Marks & Spencer this week proclaimed a transformation of its supply chain operations as it looks to a future of international multichannel retailing.

Alan Stewart, chief finance officer at M&S , was speaking as the retailer opened a new 900,000 sq ft distribution centre in Castle Donington, which will handle both online orders and store deliveries. He said: “We are transforming our supply chain operations to make them fit for the future of M&S as a leading international, multi-channel retailer. Our new supply network, alongside new systems and a best-in-class web platform will create a more efficient M&S able to deliver our products to customers in the right place at the right time, whether they’re at home or on the high street. We’re extremely proud of Castle Donington, it’s amongst the best of its kind in the world and our focus is now on delivering the rest of our modernisation programme.”

The fully-automated distribution centre will handle all orders placed through, whether by PC, mobile, tablet or from the store, and eventually processing up to a million orders a day.

It is part of a transformation programme, which started in 2009 and will run until 2015/16 aimed at creating a “fast, agile and flexible” supply chain for the company. That includes a new multichannel platform underpinning its website which is set to launch next year. Working together, promises M&S, the new distribution centre and multichannel platform will offer customers better online availability as well as the ability to order products late in the day for next-day delivery.

M&S chief executive Marc Bolland said: “Castle Donington is one of the most modern, fully automated distribution centres in the UK. As we are recruiting a significant proportion of employees through our Marks & Start Logistics scheme for people with disabilities, this investment in the UK is a unique combination of state-of-the-art technology and a great social working environment.”

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