Next warehouse employing nearly 800 logistics workers faces closure

Clothing and homeware retailer, Next, says it plans to shut its warehouse in Bradford which employs 780 staff.

Retail and distribution trade union, Usdaw, says it will begin consultation talks with the business over the future of the warehouse’s workers.

Next has proposed to close the Toftshaw Lane facility, in order to consolidate its returns processing operation into a new online fulfilment facility being developed in South Elmsall – 27 miles away.

A Next spokesman said: “This has not been an easy decision, and we appreciate this announcement will be difficult for our team at Toftshaw as there are people across the site who have worked for us for many years.”

Mark Todd, Usdaw national officer, said: “Next management have briefed staff about their proposed closure of the Bradford site and development of a new operation at South Elmsall.

“Myself and Usdaw reps will now enter into a meaningful consultation talks, where we will have the opportunity to look at the company’s business case.

“Our priorities are to secure the best available deal for those impacted by these proposals and keep as many staff as possible employed within the business and where necessary support members securing alternative employment.

“In the meantime, we are providing our members with the support, advice and representation they need at this difficult time.”

Next says it expects the Bradford closure will take place in around nine months time, between the beginning of August and end of September 2024.

It adds: “We anticipate we will have sufficient vacancies to accommodate everyone who would like to relocate to employment at our other sites.

“However, we also recognise some employees will be unable to relocate and their role may become redundant.

“We will therefore assist in helping employees find roles outside of the NEXT Group, which will include the provision of an on-site ‘job shop’ where we will support employees with skills such as interviewing and CV writing, as well as inviting onto site local employers who are actively recruiting.”

The business says consolidating this part of its operations at South Elmsall means it will enhance service to customers by improving its stock availability. It says bringing all its online operations under one roof will mean returns will be available earlier to customers.

Next notes the Toftshaw Lane warehouse needs significant maintenance and investment, including a full roof replacement.

This would necessitate a complete closure of the site and relocation of the workforce while maintenance took place, which would come at considerable cost along with disruption to staff.

The company points out that consolidating activities into one building will eliminate the large number of vehicle journeys required to transfer stock between Toftshaw Lane and Elmsall. It says this will reduce the business’s environmental impact and cut costs.