The decision follows a “full review of current and future logistical requirements” made by the company.
The housewares retailer currently distributes goods to all of its 42 stores from Worcester and fulfils all ecommerce orders from a third party logistics provider in the south-east.
But according to chief executive officer Mark Saunders: “This structure drives additional cost in double handling and additional cost in an unnecessary level of inventory.”
The specialist chain has decided to “invest for future growth” by moving both operations to a single site, operated by a third party: the logistics firm iForce, which is part of the Eddie Stobart Group.
Mark said: “iForce has extensive experience of partnering with multi-channel retailers in both the fashion and homeware sectors .This partnership will enable us to have access to a bespoke logistics solution, using a ‘best in class’ warehouse management system.”
He noted that the 28 employees at Worcester “have delivered an excellent logistical service, particularly over the 2017 peak” and stressed that “this decision is in no way a reflection on their professionalism and commitment.” He added: “It’s undoubtedly sad news for the team, and inevitably there will be some job losses, but we are seeking to minimise the impact.”
Steamer Trading Cookshop has advised its suppliers that all deliveries are still to be made to the Worcester warehouse “or as otherwise directed at the present time”. Suppliers will be notified directly well in advance of the changeover in delivery address.
“This is a very big investment for the business that will be a step forward in terms of offering a better service,” Mark said. “And it will give us the flexibility to grow in the future, by stocking product to enable speedier fulfilment to stores, and the ability to extend our online ranging.”
Steamer Trading Cookshop chief executive officer Mark Saunders