Marks & Spencer ditches Neasden, putting 380 jobs at risk

Marks & Spencer is to cease operations at its London distribution centre, putting 380 jobs at risk.

The move, part of chief executive Steve Rowe's five-year turnaround plan, will see the high street giant exit its Neasden site in the north of the capital and transfer the work to other sites.

Neasden is operated by a third party on behalf of M&S, XPO Logistics, while transport duties are carried out by DHL.

Both firms are entering into a consultation period with 380 staff.

Mr Rowe's tenure has seen a string of changes at M&S, including a raft of shop closures and a withdrawal from international markets as the chief executive attempts to rejuvenate the ailing retailer.

Earlier this month, M&S said it would outsource more than half of its 430-strong IT team in a move that will cut costs by around £30 million a year.

The group said around 250 roles will transfer to Indian giant Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), although they will remain based at the firm's IT headquarters at Stockley Park in Middlesex.

Marks and Spencer store shake-up
Marks and Spencer store shake-up

M&S also announced on Wednesday that it is to open a new clothing & home distribution centre in Welham Green, Hertfordshire, early next year.

The former Tesco site will serve 150 stores and will also be operated by a third-party logistics supplier, employing over 500 people.

Gordon Mowat, M&S director of clothing & home supply chain & logistics, said: "M&S is changing and we are transforming our stores and supply chain to better serve our customers.

"The new site in Welham will deliver better service and availability for our customers and enable us to become a faster, more agile, lower cost retailer.

"The location has fantastic transport links and we're looking forward to building a great operation in Hertfordshire.

"The decision to move operations from Neasden to other sites within our network is not one we have taken lightly, however it's an important part of our transformation."

The retailer's woes were brought into sharp focus in its Christmas trading update, when it revealed another steep fall in clothing sales and disappointing festive trading in its food halls as it failed to lure in cost-conscious shoppers.

The high street bellwether blamed a mild October for a 2.8% fall in like-for-like clothing and home sales over the 13 weeks to December 30, while it said "ongoing under-performance" in its food arm left sales 0.4% lower.