Job losses as Carlisle distribution centre closes

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About 30 jobs will be lost when department store John Lewis closes its distribution centre in Carlisle.

The retailer has confirmed to the News & Star that its 50,000sq ft depot in the city's Kingmoor Park industrial estate will close later this month.

It follows more than a year of consultation with staff based in Carlisle, after the firm blamed changing shopping habits for its decision to shut the depot.

The centre currently distributes to online customers directly and to stores.

The firm started discussions about closure in February last year and at the time said 37 jobs were affected.

Those affected being offered early retirement, redundancy or relocation to a new base in Milton Keynes.

A company spokeswoman said: "The site is closing as planned. The staff have been aware of it for a while.

"It will close on April 28."

Carlisle City Council leader Colin Glover said he was sad to see the city's link with the John Lewis Partnership has ended.

However, he is hopeful that John Lewis could still open a store in the city and that those affected will be able to find alternative employment as soon as possible.

The company, a co-operative owned by its employees who are known as “partners”, was once one of the city's major employers.

The city's MP John Stevenson said: "I'm always disappointed to see jobs leave Carlisle and obviously feel for the individuals involved.

"On the positive side the Carlisle economy is robust and is creating jobs. Hopefully those who've lost their jobs will be able to find new ones in the city.

"I'm positive and upbeat about the Carlisle economy which has been growing over the years."

As well as the jobs at the distribution centre, the John Lewis Partnership owned Stead McAlpin at Cummersdale, near Carlisle until it sold the textile printing business in 2007.

Partners shared in the company's profits through a bonus paid every year, a figure that was 17 per cent in 2013.

Mr Glover said: "It's really disappointing for operational reasons that John Lewis made the decision to close and we will have lost that link.

"We do still hope that John Lewis will consider opening a retail store in Carlisle and that's something we will continue to look at along with improving other retail areas."

"In term of job losses we hope that those who are affected will be able to find alternative employment in the city."

John Lewis also owns Waitrose supermarkets.

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