NEXT has revealed it plans to close its Bradford warehouse in a move that affects nearly 800 jobs. 

Usdaw - a union representing workers at the depot - announced on Thursday that it would enter consultation talks with the clothing and homeware retailer over the future of its warehouse in Toftshaw Lane, off Tong Street.

A spokesperson for Next confirmed the firm is proposing to close the depot between the start of August and the end of September next year and that 780 logistics staff within the Toftshaw site are affected.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: A lorry at the Next site, in Toftshaw Lane, BradfordA lorry at the Next site, in Toftshaw Lane, Bradford (Image: Telegraph & Argus)

They said: "It is with sadness that we announce the proposed closure of our warehouse at Toftshaw Lane in Bradford.

"The closure is necessary in order to consolidate our returns processing operation into the new Online fulfilment facility being developed in South Elmsall.

"We anticipate the closure will take place in around nine months time, between the beginning of August and end of September 2024.

"We are consulting with everyone affected along with USDAW/SATA, our recognised Trade Union."

One of the main reasons the move is taking place is because the Bradford warehouse requires "significant maintenance and investment over the coming years, including a full replacement of its roof," according to Next.

The major retailer said the site would be forced to completely shut and staff would have to relocate while the work took place - and would come at a "considerable cost".

This course of action would also be a disruption to employees, the local community, and business generally, according to a spokesperson for the company.   

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The Next warehouse, in Toftshaw Lane, BradfordThe Next warehouse, in Toftshaw Lane, Bradford (Image: Telegraph & Argus)

Next anticipates it will have enough vacancies for those affected in Bradford, with the majority of opportunities at the new site in South Elmsall.

There are also vacancies at Next warehouses based in and around the South Yorkshire area, such as Doncaster and Wath-Upon-Dearne.

The spokesperson said: "However, we also recognise that some employees will be unable to relocate and their role may become redundant.

"We will therefore assist in helping employees find roles outside of the Next Group, which will include the provision of an on-site ‘job shop’ where we will support employees with skills such as interviewing and CV writing, as well as inviting onto site local employers who are actively recruiting."

Next said two other reasons for moving are it will allow the company to offer an improved service and reduce its distribution arm's environmental impact.

Stock availability will be better, as having the company's online operations under one roof will mean returns will be available earlier to customers, according to the Next spokesperson.

The retailer will also no longer have to transfer stock between Toftshaw Lane and Elmsall, which will eliminate roughly 40 trips a day made by large goods vehicles and reduce costs.

Next claims a new purpose-built area at the South Elmsall site will help improve efficiency by an estimated 20 per cent.

The spokesperson said: "This has not been an easy decision, and we appreciate this announcement will be difficult for our team at Toftshaw as there are people across the site who have worked for us for many years.

"We would like to thank everyone in advance for their usual dedication and support as we work together over the following months to ensure as smooth a transition as possible, but also, so that everyone on site receives the relevant help and assistance in finding alternative employment either within or outside of Next."

Usdaw national officer Mark Todd said: “Next management have briefed staff about their proposed closure of the Bradford site and development of a new operation at South Elmsall.

"Myself and Usdaw reps will now enter into a meaningful consultation talks, where we will have the opportunity to look at the company’s business case.

“Our priorities are to secure the best available deal for those impacted by these proposals and keep as many staff as possible employed within the business and where necessary support members securing alternative employment.

"In the meantime, we are providing our members with the support, advice and representation they need at this difficult time.”

Labour MP for Bradford South Judith Cummins said: "This is worrying and difficult news for staff at Next Distribution’s facility on Toftshaw Lane.

"I have been in contact with Next Distribution and USDAW, the recognised trade union representing workers on the site, and I will continue to support staff as consultations continue.

"Affected workers need reassurance that they will get the help they need to access other roles within the business or the support to find new jobs elsewhere.”