Marks & Spencer (M&S) has announced plans for a new distribution centre to be constructed at London Gateway.

The plans will see the retailers invest £200 million and is set to to spark a major employment boost for the area with around 700 new jobs expected to be created. The facility will be built at the new deep-sea container port and logistics park which will open on the Thames later in the year. Its location in south Essex will allow it to maintain strong links with central London and boost M&S' positions within the retail sector.

Officials explained that the company's strategic location meaning that it will be able to move millions of products directly from ships to the new 900,000 sq ft distribution centre at the London Gateway Logistics Park. It is designed to both increase efficiency throughout the firm's supply chain while at the same reducing the amount of road miles and thousands of tonnes of CO2 it emits every year.

M&S' investment plans have already been praised by prime minister David Cameron who visited London Gateway on Monday (June 10th) morning. It marks a major milestone for the development and shows a real sign of commitment from one of the biggest retailers within the market.

Marc Bolland, chief executive of M&S said: "London Gateway will become our third large distribution centre in the UK as we transform our logistics operations into a modern and agile supply chain, fit for the future of M&S.

"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."

M&S recently announced that it was working towards educating 500,000 of its supply chain workers as part of its latest 'Plan A' report. The company has been working with employees in countries such as India, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Bangladesh and China and this is planned to be upped to half a million by 2015.

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