Supermarket chain Lidl has opened its new regional distribution centre (RDC) in Houghton Regis, Luton. At 1.2 millionft², the facility is now the company’s largest warehouse in the world and its first to date in Britain to use automation.
The project, which cost £300m, saw the construction of a facility that the retailer said could fit three of Lidl’s existing warehouses inside.
According to Lidl, the new site will be delivering more than 9,400 pallets per day across 150 stores – as opposed to the 60-80 stores usually serviced by a typical distribution centre.
Richard Taylor, chief development officer at Lidl GB, said: “The opening of this new RDC in Luton is a seminal moment for Lidl GB. Demand for Lidl has never been higher, and we are seeing an increasing number of people walk through our doors to make savings on every shop.
“The fact that Lidl’s largest RDC in the world is here in Great Britain speaks for itself not only in terms of us needing to meet the growing demand from customers, but also in terms of our ambition to grow that demand in the future.
“It is a spectacular state-of-the-art site that our team has worked incredibly hard on to get to where we are today. It has the capacity to service 150 stores, which is nearly triple the amount of some of our existing warehouses, demonstrating the true scale of our ambition and growth potential.”
Automation will be key to the new RDC, with Lidl claiming that the Luton facility will be the first Lidl GB warehouse to make use of automation order to increase the storage capacity for goods.
On the opening of the site, chancellor of the exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, said: “It’s fantastic to see Lidl investing in the UK and creating thousands more well-paid jobs. As our plan to halve inflation this year and grow the economy bears fruit, businesses can be confident that investing in the UK is the right decision.”
According to a Lidl statement, up to 1,500 jobs are expected to be generated by the new RDC.