By Christmas 2021, M&S will serve online customers from Castle Donington, Bradford and through its stores which act as micro-fulfilment centres.
M&S said the re-engineering of its supply chain, including the extension of Bradford to permanently improve online capacity, is an important enabler to M&S’s MS2 division.
The creation of the MS2 division reflects the shift to online shopping driven by the pandemic. M&S online sales rose 34 per cent in the first half of the financial year, with app downloads in 2020 up over 200 per cent and it now has over 10 million Sparks members.
M&S opened its Bradford Distribution Centre in 2010 – a carbon neutral building which achieved a BREEAM (the leading environmental assessment method for buildings) Excellent rating.
The Bradford site currently delivers both clothing and food to M&S stores in partnership with logistics experts XPO.
The new investment will use existing vacant space within the centre to create a new online warehouse for M&S.com, supporting the retailer’s Castle Donington online warehouse and in-store pick model.
The investment in Bradford follows a successful trial over Christmas where Bradford’s colleagues manually picked products from the existing automated distribution centre to service online orders. At its peak, the site was dispatching 14,000 items a day.
M&S said Bradford was selected for this extension due to its location, its excess space and because it is M&S’s most automated distribution centre.
Details about the 300 new jobs will be shared with the local community this summer.
Sarah Monk, programme manager for the Bradford project, said: “Warehouse colleagues have been our behind the scenes heroes during the pandemic – making sure customers’ parcels are picked, packed & shipped – safely & efficiently.
"The team at Bradford did an amazing job supporting with online Christmas orders and we’re all so excited that we’ll now be permanently running an online operation from the site which will include the recruitment of 300 new XPO colleagues.”
Stephen Langford, director of M&S.com, said: “We’re transforming our clothing business to be more relevant, more often for our 22 million customers – however they choose to shop.
"Whilst it’s exciting our stores have reopened, growing our online business has never been more important and part of that is a behind the scenes network which means we can serve our customers as efficiently as possible. Building Bradford is a key way we’re setting ourselves up for a more digital future at M&S under the banner of MS2.”