Marks & Spencer (M&S) will complete the UK supply chain transformation it began in 2009 by building a major new DC at the London Gateway container port and logistics park.

The 900,000ft² DC at the deep-sea port's logistics park on the Thames in Essex, 25 miles from central London, will be the last of three large DCs it needs to run its UK distribution operations.

The retailer says the DC will handle clothing, homewares and gifts for UK and international M&S stores, and will significantly shorten its supply chain to key UK cities.

M&S is planning to use the rail network being built at London Gateway, which will link to the rail terminal at the M&S distribution centre in Castle Donington.

Marks & Spencer, chief executive Marc Bolland said of the move: “As we become an international, multi-channel retailer, London Gateway will help us become more efficient by cutting costs and locating our supply chain closer to our stores and our international markets.

"It will also help us deliver against our Plan A objectives by removing road miles and emissions from our network.”

The port facilities at London Gateway are due to open in the fourth quarter of 2013. Subject to planning, Marks & Spencer will begin building the new facility in 2014.

By Andrew Stone