John Lewis to axe more than 70 jobs in depot closure

John Lewis depot on Bonnington Road will close next month. Picture: Greg Macvean
John Lewis depot on Bonnington Road will close next month. Picture: Greg Macvean
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DEPARTMENT store John Lewis has announced that it is to close its Leith warehousen next month resulting in the loss of 78 jobs.

Distribution will be relocated from the current depot at Anderson Place off Bonnington Road to one more than 40 miles away in Glasgow, as John Lewis seeks to centralise its operations.

Around forty new jobs are set to be created at the new site which will also handle online orders.

The Leith delivery centre is set to close next month with dozens of jobs affected.

A John Lewis spokeswoman said the current site ‘no longer suited’ the firm’s requirements: “Our site in Leith is no longer suitable to support our growing business.

“At the beginning of this year we began discussions with partners at our Edinburgh distribution hub about the future of the site, and after a consultation we have now confirmed that the site will be closing.

“Our site in Leith is no longer suitable to support our growing business, and by consolidating work in our more modern facility in Lister St, it will enable us to run a more productive model.

“We created an additional 40 new jobs at our Glasgow site as a result of this change, with the hope that a number of partners currently at our Leith site would apply for these roles, or others elsewhere in our business.”

Speaking earlier this year, one worker said: “The general feeling is of shock and anger and confusion. We are all quite baffled by this.

“We knew something was up because we were told in advance there was going to be an important announcement.

“But no-one envisaged what they announced. We had heard rumours they were looking into merging us with Glasgow’s delivery hub and relocating both sites to a new central depot, so we thought in the worst case scenario we’d move to a new warehouse in the Bathgate or Livingston area.

“But for them to announce that we’ll be moving all existing work to the Glasgow service building was a massive shock, mainly because it seems such a stupid decision. We will still have to do the same amount of deliveries to Fife, Edinburgh and the Lothians, but now we’ll have to travel along Scotland’s busiest road every day.

“Most of us are really still in shock and dumbfounded, and angry.

“Everyone would be made redundant and we’re being offered to re-apply for our jobs – but in Glasgow.

“There are quite a few people there with really long service – at least half a dozen with over 25 years’ service.

“Most of us have between ten and 20 years’ service; so it will really hit us hard.

“There might be the possibility of working in Glasgow but it will mean at least an extra two hours’ commuting every day.”

The Leith distribution centre was constructed in 1973 to coincide with the opening of the St James Centre and John Lewis’ Edinburgh store.