Shop Direct refuses to reconsider plan to close three Greater Manchester sites

David Prior's picture
by David Prior
Shop Direct

Shop Direct has refused to reconsider its plan to close three sites in Greater Manchester, putting almost 2,000 jobs at risk.

The Liverpool-based online retailer, which owns Very.co.uk and Littlewoods.com, last week announced plans to close distribution centres in Shaw, Little Hulton and Chadderton and build a new warehouse in the East Midlands, employing 500 people.

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority, led by Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, said it had met with the company on Friday and asked whether there was any possibility of the company reconsidering.

It said: "Oldham Council tabled alternative proposals of a site of a similar size, accompanied by a favourable business package, at Broadway Green, Chadderton. It was disappointing that there was no willingness to engage on these proposals.

"Regrettably, it quickly became apparent that Shop Direct have committed to their East Midlands site and their plan of a staged transition starting in two years’ time."

The Usdaw union will now be "holding the company to their legal obligations to engage in a meaningful consultation and the union’s test of meaningful is that they fully explore any options of relocating to a nearby site". 

The statement added: "Moving to the Midlands is not a done deal, the staff through their trade union are entitled to a say in the future of the business.

"Usdaw recognises that even if the company decides to relocate within Greater Manchester there are still likely to be job losses due to technological changes, so we welcome the efforts that are being made to support staff whose jobs are at risk."

A taskforce, led by The Growth Company and including all parties including both Shop Direct and the Department for Work and Pensions, has now been assembled to handle the fallout from the decision.