Ocado hub employing 2,300 in Hatfield to close as company shifts to robotic warehouses

ANGLIA 250423 Ocado
Ocado is planning to move distribution to an automated warehouse in Luton Credit: PA Images

Online grocer Ocado is to close its oldest distribution centre as it shifts towards robotic warehouses.

The group said 2,300 workers at the site in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, will be affected by the closure, which will take place later this year.

The huge distribution centre accounts for about a fifth of Ocado's customer orders each week.

Orders will instead be shifted to a new state-of-the-art automated warehouse in Luton, which is due to open later in 2023.

Ocado has started consultation with the 2,300 workers based at Hatfield, but said it aims to offer jobs to as many of those affected as possible at nearby sites, such as Luton.

Ocado Retail - run as a joint venture with Marks & Spencer - has started consultation with the workers affected.

The new site in Panattoni Park, Luton, is more than 20 miles away from the Hatfield warehouse.

Ocado is expecting to employ around 1,000 staff in total at the new distribution centre.

Ocado Group chief executive Tim Steiner said: “As the online grocery channel grows, our new, enhanced fulfilment centres and technologies will drive a step change in customer experience and efficiency.

“With this capacity coming online, now is the right time for us to halt operations at our oldest facility at Hatfield and consider our future options for the site.”

He added: “We want to keep as much of this talent and experience within the business as possible and expect to retain a large proportion of colleagues impacted by these changes, either in our new Luton CFC (customer fulfilment centre) or across our wider UK network.”

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