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Shop Direct to safeguard 200 jobs through Clipper Logistics transfer deal

By Huw Hughes


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Shop Direct has announced an agreement to transfer its 215,000 square foot Raven Mill returns centre in Oldham, Greater Manchester, along with returns activity managed from the site, to Clipper Logistics, in a move that will save up to 200 jobs.

The Raven Mill site, which employs 403 people, was due to close by 2021, once Shop Direct’s returns activity is migrated to a new automated 850,000 square foot fulfilment and returns centre at East Midlands Gateway near Castle Donington, Leicestershire.

All the staff based at the Raven Mill site will be transferred to Clipper Logistics, where returns on behalf of Shop Direct will be operated until the e-tailer’s East Midlands fulfilment centre opens in 2021. Additionally, Clipper Logistics intends to retain up to 200 Raven Mill colleagues for separate ongoing operational activity at the site for its other retail clients. However, at least 200 Raven Mill-based colleagues are still likely to be made redundant following the move in 2021.

As part of the five-year agreement, Clipper Logistics will continue to manage some specialist returns and pre-retail activity for Shop Direct after 2021 from its site in Swadlincote, Derbyshire.

Phil Hackney, group operations director at Shop Direct and co-chair of the joint taskforce, said in a statement: “We’re pleased to have come to an agreement with Clipper Logistics that has the potential to safeguard jobs in the area, with Raven Mill likely to operate as a commercial site beyond 2021. We believe it’s a positive move for our colleagues and the community. We’ll work closely with Clipper Logistics, our trade union Usdaw and colleague representatives to ensure the transfer is as smooth as possible.

“Our priority continues to be working in partnership with the joint task force to give affected colleagues across all our Greater Manchester fulfilment sites the training, development and other types of support they need to help them prepare for the future.”

Steve Parkin, executive chairman at Clipper Logistics, added: “We are delighted to be working with Shop Direct. It is testament to our unique ability in returns management across fashion, electronics and general merchandise, to be adding one of the UK’s leading pureplay digital retailers to our client list. We are looking forward to ensuring we deliver best-in-class, not only for customers in terms of fulfilment, but also for colleagues.”

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