500 new jobs up for grabs as John Lewis acquires Milton Keynes warehouse

By guest author Elias Jahshan from Retail Gazette.

  • John Lewis Partnership acquires 1 million sq ft distribution centre to support growth of Johnlewis.com
  • 500 new jobs to be created in Milton Keynes
  • Ability to combine customer orders will reduce packages by approximately one million per year

The John Lewis Partnership has signed an agreement with Tesco to lease a one million sq ft distribution centre at Fenny Lock in Milton Keynes.

The move will help the retail giant meet growing customer demand for online orders for its John Lewis department store fascia.

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 the John Lewis Partnership’s second largest distribution centre after its two million sq ft campus four miles away, at Magna Park in Milton Keynes.

It will also see the creation of 500 new jobs once it opens next year.

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

“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 to work at the distribution centre, which we plan to start operating during summer 2022.

“We will use the Fenny Lock site to fulfil customer orders for fashion, small home furnishing items and technology products.

“The 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.”

The John Lewis Partnership said it was investing GBP 50 million into the ecommerce operations for John Lewis this year alone, and this includes the app as well as more virtual services and events.

It also committed an additional GBP 100 million to be invested into John Lewis’ online growth over the next five years, as part of the partnership’s wider turnaround stategy.

Separately, the John Lewis Partnership also signed a three year lease agreement for a 300000 sq ft distribution centre at Bardon, Leicestershire.

It said it would start using the site this month in time for Black Friday. The site will be operated by Clipper Logistics on behalf of the partnership.