LONDON, June 10 Marks & Spencer said on
Monday it would invest 200 million pounds ($311 million) in a
distribution centre at a new deep-sea container port east of
London to help make its supply chain more efficient.
M&S, Britain's biggest clothing retailer which also sells
homewares and upmarket foods, is spending 1 billion pounds ($1.6
billion) over six years to 2015 on logistics, IT and systems, as
it seeks to become an international multi-channel retailer -
connecting with customers through stores, the Internet and
The firm is replacing more than 100 warehouses it had across
Britain in 2009 with three huge distribution centres. The first
opened in Bradford, northern England, in 2010 and the second
opened in Castle Donington, central England, last month. London
Gateway will be the third.
M&S said that locating the new 900,000 square-foot
distribution centre at DP World's London Gateway port
on the Thames near Stanford-Le-Hope, east of London, would allow
it to handle millions of products directly from ships, removing
millions of road miles and giving it closer access to key
"London Gateway will help us become more efficient by
cutting costs and locating our supply chain closer to our stores
and our international markets," said Chief Executive Marc
M&S said its investment would create about 700 jobs and
hundreds of additional workers would be employed in the
The group is battling to reverse seven straight quarters of
falling underlying sales in clothing and homewares.
But M&S shares are up about 33 percent over the past year,
pushed higher by periodic bouts of takeover speculation. They
hit a five-year high last month after new autumn/winter clothing
ranges drew a positive response from analysts and fashion media.
The stock was down 0.4 percent at 451 at 1203 GMT, valuing
the business at about 7.3 billion pounds.
Subject to planning, M&S will begin construction of the new
facility in 2014. London Gateway port is set to open in the
fourth quarter this year.
The port will ultimately allow the world's largest ships to
dock just 25 miles from the centre of London.