Marks and Spencer has announced plans to invest £200m in a new 900,000 sq ft distribution centre at London Gateway.
The distribution centre will be built at the DP World London Gateway deep-sea container port and logistics park, which opens later this year and is set to become Britain’s new international trade hub.
Located on the Thames in south Essex, the non-food distribution centre will allow Marks and Spencer to move products directly from ships to its facility. It will also give the retailer closer access to key UK cities.
Marks and Spencer will create around 700 jobs at the facility. There will also be hundreds of additional workers employed during the construction phase.
Subject to planning, construction of the new facility will begin in 2014. A Marks and Spencer spokesman said it was too soon to say when a contractor will be appointed.
Marks and Spencer chief executive Marc Bolland said: “London Gateway will become our third large distribution centre in the UK as we transform our logistics operations into a modern and agile supply chain, fit for the future of M&S.
“As we become an international, multi-channel retailer, London Gateway will help us become more efficient by cutting costs and locating our supply chain closer to our stores and our international markets.”
Marks and Spencer is planning to use the rail network being built at London Gateway, which will link to the rail terminal at the retailer’s distribution centre in Castle Donington, Leicestershire.
Mr Bolland added that the new facility will help the retailer deliver its sustainability objectives by removing road miles and emissions from its network.
DP World London Gateway chief executive Simon Moore said: “Marks and Spencer will have a world-class distribution centre connected to a world-class deep-sea port providing more reliability and efficiency for its business.
“By bringing ships carrying millions of products closer to the point of consumption, we will help M&S to shorten its supply chain. The M&S team is truly leading the way here and we look forward to the next phase of the planning process.”
London Gateway port is due to open in the fourth quarter of 2013. It will provide 3.5m teu capacity and will allow the world’s largest ships to call just 25 miles from the centre of London.