Layoffs likely as giant Argos center next to M6 closes

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The retailer, founded in 1873 but now part of Home Retail Group after being acquired by Sainsbury’s in 2016, is also scrapping its iconic catalogs.A statement from Sainsbury’s said: “As we continue to bring our teams together at Sainsbury, Argos and Habitat, we are reviewing our operations at Acton Gate, subject to consultation.

“We understand that it will be a troubling time for those involved and we support them in any way we can. This includes exploring how our contact center colleagues can continue to fulfill their role from home or other base in the future. ”

Acton Gate’s distribution operation, which is for Habitat, is subcontracted to DHL. The Argos distribution has previously been moved to other sites.

Acton Gate, which is leased, is put on the market, with Argos intending to leave the site between January and March of next year. It was opened in 1997 after Argos moved from nearby Penkridge and initially employed 650 people.

Sainsbury’s said it reviewed the operation there before the coronavirus crisis.

The consultation on the plans will begin towards the end of September.

Most of the workers at Acton Gate’s contact center worked from home during the lockdown and will have the option of continuing to do so.

The number of layoffs following the release of Acton Gate should not be many.

Inside the Argos distribution center at Acton Gate

DHL Supply Chain said: “Following a review of its future network needs, Argos of Sainsbury is proposing to integrate its logistics operation Habitat, which DHL currently manages, into its existing Argos network from January 2021.

“The personnel concerned have been informed of the situation and will enter into consultation with the company shortly.

“We thank the staff for their continued commitment during this difficult time and stress that the decision was based entirely on business factors and in no way reflects the levels of service provided to Acton Gate in recent years. ”

The bi-annual catalog has been around for 47 years and over a billion copies have been produced over the years.

Argos, which employs around 30,000 people and has more than 850 stores and standalone stores in Sainsbury’s supermarkets, is now a multi-channel retailer and its website is the third largest retail website in the UK with over one billion visits each year and customers shopping on smartphones and tablets now account for over 70 percent of all Argos online sales.

Argos continues to invest in in-store technology and all stores across the UK will have easy-to-use digital displays by January, which customers can use to browse the website before placing their order.

The company, which offers more than 60,000 products, will always produce its Christmas gift guide.

Mark Given, Director of Marketing at Sainsbury’s, said: “Over the decades, the Argos catalog has painted a picture of the country’s changing tastes and trends in everything from must-have toys to the latest gadgets and devices. Popular products today include wireless headphones, game consoles, and loads of LEGOs. In 1973, when the catalog was launched, it was about cameras and space.

“Just as the tastes of our customers have changed over the years, their buying habits have changed. We are seeing a growing shift towards digital shopping, using our mobile app, website and in-store browsers. Closing the book on the catalog will help us focus on delivering exciting and inspiring digital shopping experiences to meet the changing needs of our customers, both in-store and online. “

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