Significant win for Leeds-based solutions provider
Clipper Logistics has announce that it has signed a new contract with Shop Direct, operator of digital retail brands Very.co.uk and Littlewoods.com, toprovide returns management and pre-retail services.
Ranging across 1,800 brands from fashion to housewares to electronics, the operation will initially continue to be housed at the existing 215,000 sq. ft Shop Direct facility at Raven Mill near Oldham, Greater Manchester. The Raven Mill premises are to be leased to Clipper.
The initial contract is for a term of five years and will commence on 1 July 2019 with the employment of approximately 400 Shop Direct personnel. The contract sees Clipper provide a comprehensive global returns management and pre-retail solution for Shop Direct, incorporating Clipper's BoomerangTM and Technical Services Division value-added services.
Shop Direct personnel based at the Raven Mill site will transfer to Clipper Logistics' employment under TUPE. Clipper Logistics will operate returns and pre-retail services on behalf of Shop Direct at the Raven Mill site until these activities migrate to Shop Direct's new East Midlands fulfilment centre in 2021.
Following the 2021 scheduled transfer of Shop Direct's returns operations from Raven Mill to a new fulfilment site in the East Midlands, Clipper plans longer-term expansion of operations at Raven Mill. The Clipper operation at Raven Mill will become a multiuser returns and pre-retail support centre operating seven days a week. Clipper is planning to introduce other retail customers to the Raven Mill site as it seeks to grow further within the managed returns and pre-retail market.
Following 2021, a number of Shop Direct's specialist returns management services will transfer to Clipper's returns site at Swadlincote in Derbyshire, where Clipper will continue to provide Shop Direct with pre-retail and enhanced returns processing capabilities.
Steve Parkin, Executive Chairman of Clipper said:
"This contract win is significant for Clipper, adding one of the UK's leading pureplay digital retailers to our roster of best in class retail operators. It demonstrates Clipper's unique ability in returns management across fashion, electronics and general merchandise. The Shop Direct brands have a distinct pedigree and are supported by a loyal customer base. We are looking forward to serving Shop Direct customers with our modern retail-focussed warehousing, e-fulfilment and returns logistics services."
Shop Direct CEO, Henry Birch commented:
"We are pleased to partner with Clipper to deliver returns and pre-retail services from Raven Mill and, later, specialist services from its Swadlincote site. Clipper has a track record of delivering best in class fulfilment and returns for digital retailers. The agreement represents a positive outcome for our colleagues at Raven Mill."
Phil Hackney, group operations director at Shop Direct, said:
“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 taskforce 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.”
Retail workers’ union Usdaw hailed today’s news. Mike Aylward, Usdaw divisional officer, said:
“Usdaw welcomes this development, which potentially keeps the Raven Mill site open after the planned 2021 closure.
“Usdaw has been briefed that the deal potentially safeguards up to 200 jobs at Raven Mill.
“We will be working to ensure a smooth transfer of the 403 Shop Direct staff to Clipper Logistics under TUPE, although it remains likely that at least 200 staff are to be made redundant following Shop Direct’s departure in 2021.
“At that point Usdaw will enter into consultation talks with the business and we will be seeking to ensure that any redundancies are done on a voluntary basis.
“In the meantime, we will continue to provide our members with the advice, support and representation they require.”