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New Hudson’s Bay Distribution Center to Run on Robotics

When it’s deliver-or-die, supply chains become the lifeblood of a company. To that end, the fashion industry has embraced technology to navigate today’s hyper-complicated supply chain, with myriad solutions shaping the first, middle and last mile. Call it Sourcing 2.0.

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Hudson’s Bay has enlisted the help of robots for its soon-to-be-opened all-channel fulfillment distribution center.

The new facility in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, will open July 1, complete with innovative robotic retail technology to enhance the company’s all channel retailing capabilities.

“At HBC, we are laser-focused on our all-channel strategy, and this investment leapfrogs us to the forefront of Internet distribution technology,” HBC’s chief executive officer, Jerry Storch, said.

The facility will open in phases, starting out as 450,000 square feet and expanding to 617,500 square feet by January 2017. In it, robotic retail technology that Hudson’s Bay claims is three times faster than standard technology used in e-commerce DCs, will help the company cut costs while improving output volume and accuracy for its e-commerce fulfillment at Lord & Taylor and Saks OFF 5TH.

Corporate offices, a photo studio and a warehouse will all be part of the Pottsville DC, which will have 600 available positions—200 new jobs and roughly 390 that will move from the company’s existing Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, facility. The Wilkes-Barre DC will still employ roughly 750 people with a focus on supporting retail operations for Lord & Taylor, Saks and Saks Off 5th.

After Pottsville, Hudson’s Bay will head to its Scarborough, Ontario, DC to implement the technology there, making it the only company in Canada to use the cutting-edge robotics. The DC is expected to realize improved productivity and throughput, and increased storage space as a result of the new technology, and no full-time staff will be lost.

“As we execute on our digital strategy, we continue to invest in innovation that enables us to serve our consumers seamlessly, lead the evolution of trends in the retail industry, and expand our business which creates new job opportunities and investment in the community,” Storch said.

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