Up to 50 new jobs will be created at the facility, said Morrisons, which would support the expansion of its M local convenience business, the roll-out of which started in 2011.
The Bridgwater depot announcement follows several months of negative press for Morrisons, including the revelation that chairman Sir Ian Gibson would step down and 2,600 jobs would be cut in a management re-shuffle.
A spokeswoman told FoodManufacture.co.uk that the amount Morrisons was pumping in to the facility was “commercially sensitive”, but confirmed it was a “sizeable investment”.
Modify existing site
Morrisons will modify the existing Somerset-based site, where it estimated 400 jobs could be created after the company announced its packaging and distributing operations would be combined in 2012.
The spokeswoman added: “The headcount isn’t there yet, but we will reach that number as the site increases in capacity.”
Produce picking is carried out at the site already and is close to Morrisons’ Willow Green distribution centre, where 750 new jobs were created after its completion.
The 50 new jobs at Bridgwater would be created as the site progressed towards full capacity, said John Passman, head of multi-channel distribution and infrastructure.
100 M local stores
Up to 100 M local stores can be served from the centre and will be opened as the supermarket increases its number of convenience stores in the area from 10.
“It will also support Morrisons’ convenience distribution centre in Feltham during busy periods,” said Passman.
“We already have picking and distribution expertise at Bridgwater, and it makes commercial sense to leverage that expertise to support the growth of our convenience business in the region."
The new facility would be operated by Morrisons’ logistics partner DHL, he added.
Morrisons’ announcement to create more jobs at the distribution level is a contrast to the supermarket’s announced plans to cut 2,600 jobs in a management restructure last month (Jun 18).
The retailer claimed the changes would modernise store management tiers as well as simplify responsibilities and improve customer service.
At the time, boss Dalton Philips said: "This is the right time to modernise the way our stores are managed. These changes will improve our focus on customers and lead to simpler, smarter ways of working.
"We know that moving to the new management structure will mean uncertainty for our colleagues and we will be supporting them through the process."