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Next to close Bradford warehouse

17 November 2023

Clothes and homeware retailer Next is closing its returns distribution centre in Bradford citing among other reasons the high cost of updating and repairing the 1980s facility.

By Liza Helps Property Editor Logistics Matters

THE DECISION comes as the retailer looks to open its new distribution centre in South Elmshall where it plans to centralise online operations to improve stock availability and consolidate its returns processing operation.

The high street retailer intends to shut the site on Toftshaw Lane by September 2024. The facility has been a Next Distribution property since the early 1980’s and was the first unit from which the Next Online operated. 

As a returns depot, the warehouse handled up to 1.1 million items a week and accordingly operated 24 hours a day through a series of three shift patterns. 

It is thought the new 1.21 million ft2 purpose built area in South Elmshall adjacent to its  headquarters and other warehousing facilities  will help improve efficiency by an estimated 20 per cent. It will also lower its environmental impact by cutting HGV journeys, approximately 40 trips per day, required to transfer stock between Toftshaw Lane and Elmsall.

Next said the Bradford site needs "significant" maintenance and investment, including the replacement of the roof. This has been deemed  to be not cost effective for the company as the roof repairs alone would require the site to close.

The reaielr has started a consutation period with those impacted – thought to number 780. The company acknowledges that some employees may be unable to relocate, leading to inevitable redundancies.

A spokesperson for Next said: "It is with sadness that we announce the proposed closure of our warehouse at Toftshaw Lane in Bradford.

"The closure is necessary in order to consolidate our returns processing operation into the new Online fulfilment facility, Elmshall 3 being developed in South Elmsall.

"We anticipate the closure will take place in around nine months time, between the beginning of August and end of September 2024.

"We are consulting with everyone affected along with USDAW/SATA, our recognised Trade Union."