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The Co-op confirms closures of West Country distribution centres

Manchester, UK: The Co-operative Group has confirmed its distribution centre in Wellington, Somerset, will close in November, followed by Portbury, Bristol, in April 2013.

The closures – originally announced in September 2010 – are part of a major overhaul of the society’s distribution network following its 2009 acquisition of Somerfield.

Wellington and Portbury will be replaced by a 435,750 sq ft ‘mega-shed’ currently being built in Avonmouth, near Bristol. It will employ up to 900 staff, serve 492 stores and will open in September. logistics at the site will be handled by Norbert Dentressangle.

The Wellington depot has around 340 staff and Portbury has 350 staff. They will be offered the opportunity to transfer to Avonmouth.

“We are working closely with all our employees and partners, who are affected by our proposals, to offer support and advice,” said Mark Leonard, The Co-op Group’s head of logistics service.

“We are also providing financial assistance for every employee who is entitled to take redundancy to help them find new work, retrain or learn new skills.” However, trade union Unite slammed the society’s decision, claiming it “smacks of privatisation”.