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Fagan & Whalley’s new £8m semi-automated warehouse is beginning to pay off, boosting turnover in its warehousing and transport divisions, director Stephen Fagan told MT this week.

The new, purpose built, 92,000ft², high bay, semi-automated warehouse was opened in May last year and became fully operational in July.

Located at at Burnley Bridge Business Park, near junction 9 of the M65, the new site also has 10 loading bays, 25,000 pallet locations and parking for up to 80 trailers.

Fagan said: “We are only nine months into the new operation but have already seen business grow, both in the warehousing and transport divisions. In fact, it has grown faster than we expected.”

Fagan said the £8m, which also included a major refurbishment of the firm’s offices at Padiham, Lancashire and a move into new headquarters on the same site, had hit company’s profit last year. The firm’s latest results to 30 April 2017 show a 13% fall in pre-tax profits to £1.3m (2016: £1.5m) despite turnover rising by 3.5% to £23.9m (2016: £23.1m).

Fagan added: “Since then, with the opening of the new warehouse, our operating profit has grown, partly because of the new warehouse and because we don’t have the same expenses we had last year with the office refurbishments, so the first seven months of this financial year are looking very promising.”

The company, which is a member of Palletforce, operates a fleet of 170 vehicles, most of which are Scania artics and rigids.

The firm also runs a training school which it opened two years ago to help it tackle the driver shortage problem, which it blamed for a profit drop in 2016.

Fagan said: “We’ve trained around 12 to 14 apprentices so far and most of those are still with us,” Fagan said, adding: “We also do a lot to engage our staff by making it a nice place to work and by giving our drivers the latest equipment and gadgets and shift patterns that suits them.”