Up to 200 jobs “safeguarded” after Shop Direct deal

Stephen Chapman's picture

Liverpool based Shop Direct has this morning announced that it has agreed to transfer its returns centres in Greater Manchester to Clipper Logistics.

The deal, which “potentially safeguards” up to 200 jobs, comes after the firm said it would be closing the 215,000 sq ft centre in Oldham and transferring the work to an automated fulfilment and returns centre in the East Midlands.

“We are delighted to be working with Shop Direct. It is testament to our unique ability in returns management across fashion, electronics and general merchandise, to be adding one of the UK’s leading pureplay digital retailers to our client list. We are looking forward to ensuring we deliver best-in-class, not only for customers in terms of fulfilment, but also for colleagues,” said Steve Parkin, Executive Chairman at Clipper Logistics.

All 403 Shop Direct staff at the Raven Mill returns centre will now transfer to Clipper Logistics, with the company operating returns on behalf of the pureplay digital retailer for the next 2 years. That’s until the work completely moves to the East Midlands, in 2021.

At that time, Clipper Logistics stated that it intended to retain “up to 200 Raven Mill colleagues” to work for its other retail clients.

Shop Direct said that the remaining staff would be made redundant, although it hoped to achieve this on a “voluntary basis.”

When it originally announced that its fulfilment centres would begin to close from 2020, Shop Direct established a join taskforce with the union Usdaw, Guidant, the Manchester Growth Company, the Department for Work and Pensions, The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Midas, Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council, Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council, Salford City Council and Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council. Clipper Logistics will now also join the joint taskforce.

“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,” added Phil Hackney, Group Operations Director at Shop Direct and co-chair of the joint taskforce.

“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.”