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M&S to increase seasonal distribution capacity

M&S will increase its online distribution capacity throughout the Christmas period by adding more staff and utilising new technology at its Castle Donington facility.

The retailer saw a 39.2% rise in online sales in August, while 1.5 million people have already downloaded its app. 

With Christmas related searches already up 80% on last year, the company is expecting a boost in online shopping over the holiday season.

The company expects to match the high online demand by increasing the staffing number at its Leicestershire-based distribution centre by adding some 400 permanent and 500 fixed-term employees.

This will bring the distribution site’s total staff to roughly 4,000 – an increase of 30% from 2019.

Many of the staff will work in a new 245,000 sq ft mezzanine floor unit, which will be fully operational for the 2020 Christmas period. This will reportedly increase possible dispatch numbers up from 50,000 to 75,000 items. 

Moreover, the site is now equipped with two new “autobagger” machines that can pack 2,000 items an hour. 

Paul Burns, head of logistics for the M&S clothing and home department, said: “We’re set up to ensure our colleagues can safely help our customers shop online with confidence this Christmas – from great new team members to investing in our tech.”

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