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The Co-op's announced plans for a new 45-million pound distribution depot just off the A1.

The 661,000 square foot centre to be located at Symmetry Park in Biggleswade is expected to be open in early 2022 and will create up to 1,200 jobs.

It comes alongside plans for the Co-op to open one-hundred new food stores in 2018.

Retail CEO Jo Whitfield (pictured below) said: "This is a vital step in our journey to get closer to our customers’ and their shopping needs by offering the products they want and care about from stores which are closer to where they live.

"The new site will extend capacity across our logistics network. This will help stores to better serve communities and support our ambitious growth plans across London, the South and South East. This is an exciting development, we believe a strong Co-op can create stronger communities and the investment is indicative of both the performance of the Co-op and the delivery of our food strategy".

Andy Perry, Supply Chain & Logistics Director, Co-op, added: "The infrastructure and site selection will deliver greater agility, scale and efficiency - improving service and availability at existing stores while building capacity to support our store investment programme and ambitions for continued growth.

"The new site will form part of an integrated review and rebalancing of volumes across our network – it will provide greater scale while future-proofing our operations. The move will reduce road miles, overall supply chain costs and supports our stores in the South by having more of our products closer to our members and customers and the communities in which they live and work".

Reducing environmental impact will also be key to the new distribution centre, with a number of features including low energy lighting and refrigeration and the ability to harvest rainwater.

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