More than 170 jobs at risk as East of England Co-op announce plans to close Ipswich distribution centre

Inside the Co-op Distribution Centre in Ipswich.

Inside the Co-op Distribution Centre in Ipswich. - Credit: Archant

More than 170 jobs are at risk after the East of England Co-op revealed it plans to close its long-established distribution centre in Ipswich.

The warehouse, at Boss Hall Business Park, which has delivered goods to Co-op supermarkets for the past 32 years, has been earmarked for closure in early 2020.

The East of England Co-op today announced plans to shut the centre and join the Co-op Group’s National Integrated Supply Chain.

Under the proposal, the Co-op Group would take responsibility to deliver all fresh, frozen and shelf-ready food to the East of England Co-op’s 125 stores in East Anglia.

Roger Grosvenor, joint chief executive at the East of England Co-op said: “Fully integrating our business into the National Integrated Supply Chain means our customers and members can benefit from greater economies of scale.

“Part of this agreement involves a decision in principle to close our distribution centre at Boss Hall Business Park, Ipswich, in early 2020.

“This is subject to consultation with colleagues and the ESDAW trade union.”

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The warehouse began as a joint venture between the Ipswich the Colchester and East Essex and the Chelmsford Star co-operative societies, having originally been a farm.

It expanded in 1986 and again in 1990, doubling the depot’s original size. In 2008 the East of England Co-op took sole ownership of the facility following a merger between the Ipswich and Norwich and Colchester and East Essex societies in 2005.

The centre covers 140,000sq ft and stocks thousands of different product lines.

The East of England Co-op said today’s announcement will not affect its Locally Sourced initiative, which stocks thousands of local products from more than 100 food and drink suppliers across East Anglia.

Mr Grosvenor said: “Most of our local products travel directly from our suppliers to stores, which means our members and customers can enjoy fresh local produce whilst reducing food miles.

“We are in the early stages of exploring a local food ‘hub’ which would provide distribution support to Sourced Locally suppliers as well as offering them a route to other markets.”

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