Asos is investing £90m in a new distribution centre in Lichfield, Staffordshire, that will handle parcels for its online clothing and beauty business and employ 2,000 people over the next three years.
The 437,000 sq ft warehouse at Fradley Park is expected to begin operating within 12 months and serve customers in both the UK and overseas.
Asos’s main distribution centre near Barnsley, operated by XPO Logistics, employs more than 4,000 people and the company also has warehouse hubs in Berlin and Atlanta.
Expansion at the online fashion retailer comes after a strong year for companies that sell over the internet as multiple high street lockdowns to control the spread of the Covid-19 virus have accelerated the shift to home shopping.
The British company quadrupled profits and increased sales by 19% to £3.3bn in the year to 31 August as shoppers snapped up comfy casual clothing suitable for working from home and beauty products to improve their looks for video conferencing.
Some British retailers have had difficulties shipping goods to Europe since the end of the Brexit transition period this month because of tariffs imposed on items not made in the UK. Asos is able to continue selling goods via its European websites without additional duty because they are sent out from its warehouse in Berlin.
The company said deliveries to Northern Ireland were also continuing under a three-month grace period on new red tape associated with Brexit. Some UK firms have experienced difficulties exporting items to the region this month because of new checks and paperwork required under the Northern Ireland protocol. There could be further disruption for companies such as Asos from April when the grace period ends.
Nick Beighton, chief executive of Asos, said: “We’re thrilled to be laying down the foundations for our future growth in Lichfield. This significant investment in infrastructure and large-scale job creation is a reflection of the confidence Asos has in its future and the quality of the skills and talent available in this well-placed location.”
Doug Pullen, leader of Lichfield district council, said the creation of new local jobs was welcome news. “Asos’s clear ambition to contribute in a meaningful way to the communities in which it’s based is incredibly assuring, as is its track record of working closely with the Community trade union to ensure staff are properly looked after.”