No decision has yet been made on a location for the facility, but it is likely to be near the M1 in either Nottinghamshire or Derbyshire, close to two smaller depots it will replace, in Alfreton and Nottingham. It will provide jobs for around 900 people.
The new distribution centre, expected to become operational during 2012, will be the final stage of the Group’s major review of its food distribution network.
New regional distribution hubs have already been opened at Birtley, Tyne & Wear, Thurrock in Essex, and, most recently, at Lea Green on Merseyside. Plans have been submitted for a new regional distribution centre at Avonmouth, near Bristol, while other new sites, at Newhouse in North Lanarkshire and Andover in Hampshire, are currently being built.
In all, once all the new sites are operational, they will mean a net gain of around 350 jobs.
The Group has also announced that Norbert Dentressangle has been awarded a contract to run transport operations at Andover when it becomes operational later this year. Warehouse operations at Andover will be operated in-house by the Group and the new Avonmouth and Newhouse sites will also be operated in-house.
In addition, the Group has announced that three additional existing depots, at Halesowen, Peterborough and Thetford, will close during the next 18 months. Over 500 people are currently employed at the three sites. Efforts will be made to redeploy as many as possible.
Trevor Ashworth, Food Retail Supply Chain Director at the Co-operative Group, said: “The Group’s food business has grown significantly in recent years.
“We now have nearly 3,000 stores across the UK, and, including stores operated by other co-operative societies, we deliver to around 4,000, so it as important for our logistics operation to develop accordingly.
“The changes we have already made, along with those we are now planning, will ensure we can continue to provide an excellent service for all our stores and our customers, while at the same time allowing for further growth.”