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H&M To Build 785,000-Square-Foot UK Omnichannel Distribution Hub

H&M will be opening a new 785, 765-square-foot distribution center in Milton Keynes, England—the retailer’s first in-house omnichannel logistics hub.

The center will be H&M’s most advanced distribution facility upon completion and will serve consumers through both the retailer’s regional website and its stores in the U.K. and Ireland. The fast fashion retailer says the new site will be staffed by roughly 800 new employees who will be complemented by a “high degree of process supporting technology.”

“We’re very much looking forward to opening a new logistics centre in Milton Keynes,” Toni Galli, country manager for H&M U.K. and Ireland said in a statement emailed to Sourcing Journal. “Our customers are increasingly choosing to shop with us in an omnichannel way, so we see this facility as a really important way for us to integrate our online and store operations so that we can meet our customer’s changing needs more effectively.”

The hub will support a “more seamless shopping experience” for both physical and digital distribution channels, according to the brand, by increasing H&M’s local capacity and “improving the technological foundation” of its logistics system in the region.

The location of the new hub, Milton Keynes, is a growing city center that has become well-known for its high level of business investment. The London suburb ranked in the U.K.’s top five areas for both business startups and closures in 2017 (the most recent data available), according to U.K. nonprofit Centre for Cities.

According to City Tracker, another U.K.-based data firm, Milton Keynes and its 230,000 residents have the third highest gross value added (GVA) per employee among U.K. cities, ranking just behind Slough, another London suburb, and London, itself. City Tracker estimates that Milton Keynes will grow that number by 22.6 percent by 2026, which would mark the second-highest growth rate in the nation.

Announced just a couple of months after H&M expanded its partnership with the ILO to continue improving on garment factory conditions, the retailer believes its state-of-the-art distribution center will not only result in improved customer service, but also the lives of its workers.

“We are very excited to welcome new H&M colleagues to join us at this state of the art facility at Milton Keynes,” Fay Rennocks, logistics manager for H&M U.K. and Ireland, said. “We believe that the technological solutions in place at our new DC will reduce the need for our employees to engage in repetitive tasks, while enabling improvements for customer service. We’re pleased to be able to offer some exciting new roles in an area of ever-increasing importance within our business.”

Although an official operational launch date has not yet been disclosed, H&M confirmed that it will be starting recruitment for the facility in the near future.