UK high-street retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) is set to close its Hardwick distribution centre in Warrington in September this year.

The move to close the distribution centre comes as the retailer is in the process of automating its distribution centre in Bedford to handle more capacity.

Operated by third-party firm XPO Logistics, the Hardwick distribution centre currently handles clothing and home products for North West and Scotland stores.

“Closing Hardwick will help to remove some complexity from our network and speed up our supply chain.”

The company has also named logistics major DHL as its partner to operate M&S South East distribution centre at Welham Green in Hertfordshire.

The site, which is currently under renovations, will open in 2019 and will create 500 jobs in the location.

M&S clothing and home supply chain and logistics director Gordon Mowat said: “Closing Hardwick will help to remove some complexity from our network and speed up our supply chain.

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“However, it was not a decision we took lightly and it is not in any way a reflection on the hard work and dedication provided by the teams on site. We will do all we can to support our partners through the consultation process.

“On our new site at Welham Green, DHL is the right partner for us. They delivered the best response to the tender, they have a strong track record at other M&S sites and are best placed in terms of costs and speed of operation to help us realise the benefits of our new DC.”

These initiatives by the retailer are part of its five-year transformation programme to make M&S a faster and more commercial retailer, which also includes the creation of a single-tier clothing and home logistics network.

The single-tier network helps the company to move the products from suppliers to its stores.