Shop Direct, the UK's largest integrated pureplay digital retailer and financial services provider will transfer its Raven Mill returns centre in Oldham, Greater Manchester, along with returns activity to a Manchester logicistics company.

Clipper Logistics, which provides logistics and e-fulfilment to the retail sector will be transferred operations of the 215,000 sq. ft. site.

The deal potentially safeguards up to 200 jobs in the local area as well as the Raven Mill site itself, which had been due to close in 2021 following the migration of Shop Direct's returns activity to a new automated 850,000 sq. ft. fulfilment and returns centre at East Midlands Gateway.

All 403 Shop Direct colleagues based at the Raven Mill site will transfer to Clipper Logistics under TUPE, and the company will operate returns on behalf of Shop Direct at the site until this activity migrates to the digital retailer's new East Midlands fulfilment centre in 2021.

Following completion of the migration of Shop Direct's returns activity, it is Clipper Logistics' intention to retain up to 200 Raven Mill colleagues for separate ongoing operational activity at the site for its other retail clients.

At least 200 Raven Mill-based colleagues are likely to still be made redundant following migration in 2021. Redundancies are expected to be achieved on a voluntary basis.

As part of this five-year agreement, Clipper Logistics will manage some specialist returns and pre-retail activity for Shop Direct from 2021 from its site in Swadlincote, Derbyshire.

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Phil Hackney, group operations director at Shop Direct and co-chair of the joint taskforce, said he was pleased to have come to an agreement with Clipper Logistics.

“We believe it's a positive move for our colleagues and the community,” he said.

"Our priority continues to be working in partnership with the joint taskforce to give affected colleagues across all our Greater Manchester fulfilment sites the training, development and other types of support they need to help them prepare for the future."

Steve Parkin, executive chairman at Clipper Logistics, added: "It is testament to our unique ability in returns management across fashion, electronics and general merchandise, to be adding one of the UK's leading pureplay digital retailers to our client list."