Co-op hopes new depot will fuel growth in its London stores

Co-op will open its new depot in 2022

Food retailer Co-op will open a new depot to serve its London shops as it looks to grow in the south of England.

The new 660,000 square foot distribution centre will create up to 1,200 jobs when it opens in 2022, Co-op said.

Co-op said it has signed a 20-year lease for the depot in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire.

The facility, which will be fitted with low energy lighting and rainwater harvesting, will reduce the distance food has to travel to get to customers, the company said.

The retailer is on track to open 100 new food stores in 2018.

Head of retail Jo Whitfield said: “This is a vital step in our journey to get closer to our customers and their shopping needs by offering the products they want and care about from stores which are closer to where they live.

“The new site will extend capacity across our logistics network. This will help stores to better serve communities and support our ambitious growth plans across London, the South and South East.

“This is an exciting development, we believe a strong Co-op can create stronger communities and the investment is indicative of both the performance of the Co-op and the delivery of our food strategy.”

Last month Co-op opened a new £6m distribution centre at Inverness Airport to help it expand across the highlands.

Director of logistics Andy Perry said: “The infrastructure and site selection will deliver greater agility, scale and efficiency — improving service and availability at existing stores while building capacity to support our store investment programme and ambitions for continued growth.”