Co-Op begins Avonmouth centre building work

Avonmouth, UK: Building work has started on The Co-operative Group’s new £20m regional distribution centre in Avonmouth, reports Logistics Manager.

The 40,482 sq metre depot, expected to open next year, at Cabot Park on Poplar Way, will deliver around 1.4 million cases each week to about 450 Co-operative stores in the South West and South Wales.

Mark Leonard, The Co-operative’s regional head of logistics, says: “The new distribution centre in Avonmouth will provide a state-of-the-art facility that will help us provide a first-class service to our enlarged store estate for many years to come.”

“Avonmouth is ideally located for serving both South Wales and the South West, and provides us with the scope we need to develop a major distribution centre.”

The news comes just weeks after the Co-operative Group revealed a fall in interim results. Underlying operating profits overall dropped 10% to £275.1m in the half-year to 2 July.

The group saw a 5% drop in turnover and a 21% fall in profits at its foods arm, which includes the Somerfield chain.

Peter Marks, group chief executive, says: “At the full year we warned that the downturn was biting deeper than anyone had expected and predicted that challenging trading conditions would continue into 2012.

“This has clearly proved to be the case. Indeed, it is the worst I have seen in over 40 years of retailing and, against this backdrop, the results are in line with our expectations.”

The company is spending £2bn in the business over three years. The Co-op opened two new distribution centres – in Andover, Hampshire, and Newhouse, North Lanarkshire – for its foods division in the half year to July.