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John Lewis opens two new distribution centres to deal with rise in online demand

The John Lewis store in Oxford Street, London, as the company opened two new distribution centres in Milton Keynes, creating 500 jobs, in a bid to keep up with online sales and delivery demands.  The £150 million expansion of John Lewis' Magna Park campus is part of the company's five-year, £500 million investment plan, £250 million of which has been earmarked for distribution. JohnLewis. Picture: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire

The John Lewis store in Oxford Street, London, as the company opened two new distribution centres in Milton Keynes, creating 500 jobs, in a bid to keep up with online sales and delivery demands. The £150 million expansion of John Lewis' Magna Park campus is part of the company's five-year, £500 million investment plan, £250 million of which has been earmarked for distribution. JohnLewis. Picture: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire

John Lewis has opened two new distribution centres in Milton Keynes, creating 500 jobs, in a bid to keep up with online sales and delivery demands.

The £150m expansion of John Lewis’ Magna Park campus is part of the company’s five-year, £500m investment plan, £250m of which has been earmarked for distribution.

The company now lays claim to one of the largest distribution centres in Europe, with Magna Park now extending 2.4 million square feet.

The facilities will include a training centre for staff of its distribution partners, educating their staff on safe handling and delivery, as well as training around installations of lighting, washing machines, flat-packed furniture and wall-mounted televisions.

John Lewis said that demand for deliveries has jumped from 4% to 47% over the past 10 years.

Around 500 new jobs have been created as part of the Magna Park expansion, but that number is set to double during peak shopping periods.

The retailer said its distribution teams processed 18% more parcels over the 2015 Black Friday weekend, compared to a year earlier, which equated to about five parcels being processed per second during their busiest hours.

Overall, online sales grew 21.4% in 2015, compared to a year earlier, John Lewis said.

“Our distribution centres are at the heart of our business and these advanced facilities enable us to adapt to the ever-evolving retail market,” Dino Rocos, the operations manager at John Lewis, said.

“Customers want quick and convenient deliveries and fast replenishment of our shops, this investment puts us in a strong position for the years to come.”

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