The Co-operative Group has announced plans to invest £20m to build a new regional distribution centre at Avonmouth, near Bristol, employing around 1,000 people.
The 430,000 sq ft facility will serve around 400 Co-operative food stores in the Bristol, north Somerset and South Wales areas, and will take on the work of a number of existing smaller depots in the region.
Subject to legal agreements and planning consent, the new distribution centre is expected to open in early 2012.
Staff at The Co-operative’s existing depots in the region will be offered the opportunity to transfer to the new site, and it is hoped that as many as possible will do so.
The need for a new regional distribution depot was established following The Co-operative Group’s strategic review of its logistics network, designed to ensure it can continue to provide a first class delivery service to its stores following the Group’s acquisition of the Somerfield supermarket chain last year.
Mark Leonard, The Co-operative Group’s Regional Head of Logistics, said: "The acquisition of Somerfield, with its many stores in South Wales and in and around Bristol, meant we needed a regional distribution centre in a location from where we could provide our enlarged store estate with an excellent service.
"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."
Once it is fully operational, the new Avonmouth depot will replace existing Co-operative distribution centre at Chelston, near Wellington, and will take on the operations currently run by Wincanton, on behalf of The Co-operative Group, at Portbury, near Bristol, and at Bridgwater.
Mr Leonard added: "This in no way reflects the commitment and hard work of staff at these sites, whose performance has been exemplary. We hope as many staff as possible at these locations will be able to transfer to Avonmouth once it is operational."