John Lewis Partnership (JLP) has signed an agreement with Tesco to lease a 1 million sq ft distribution centre at Fenny Lock in Milton Keynes. The retailer said the move will help it meet growing customer demand for online orders. Since the start of the pandemic, online sales have grown from 40% to over 60% of John Lewis’s total sales. 

The warehouse, leased for 11 years, will become its second largest distribution centre after JLP’s 2 million sq ft campus just four miles away at Magna Park in Milton Keynes.  

JLP executive director of operations Andrew Murphy said: “This one-of-a-kind distribution centre represents a fantastic opportunity to power the continued growth of, ensuring that we can keep pace with customer demand – both for our products and for our wide range of fulfilment and delivery options.

“We will invest in the site’s automation capability to support future growth and, over the next two years, we will recruit 500 new Partners [staff] to work at the distribution centre, which we plan to start operating during summer 2022. 

“Fenny Lock’s proximity to our Magna Park campus will enable us to combine more customer orders, reducing both the number of packages we create by approximately one million per year and the number of lorries on the road, helping us to meet our target of being net zero carbon by 2035.

“This year, we are investing £50 million in and the fast-growing John Lewis app and creating more virtual services and events, with a further £100 million-plus to be committed to our online growth over the course of our five-year strategy. We have also signed a three-year lease agreement for a 300,000sq ft distribution centre at Bardon in Leicestershire which we will start using this month in time for Black Friday this year.”

John Lewis currently uses 10 distribution sites across the UK to fulfil online and shop orders: Magna Park sites 1,2 and 3 in Milton Keynes, Blakelands in Milton Keynes, Brackmills in Northampton, Grange Park in Northampton, Corby in Northamptonshire, Redditch in Worcestershire, the Waitrose National Distribution Centre in Milton Keynes, and an ancillary site in Northampton where it processes customer returns and technical repairs to reduce the number of items which get sent to landfill.

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