Central England Co-op staff working 24/7 to meet demand

Central England Co-op’s distribution hub has been busier than ever this year to meet demand from customers and colleagues who are working in the 120,000 sq ft Food Distribution Centre in the run up to Christmas.

The team in Leicester works all year to pick, pack and transport all the festive food, drink and gifts customers want to local stores across 16 counties. The teams are pulling out all the stops to ensure a fantastic Christmas for customers at the end of what has been a challenging year for everyone.

The distribution sites see stock swiftly transferred to the Society’s stores to ensure there are seasonal essentials and treats to suit every pocket.

Growing customer demand for mince pies this year is being met with 394,000 packs being distributed to stores compared to 260,000 in 2019.

Over 200,000 tubs of confectionery and 20,000 Christmas puddings will be delivered for distribution through the centre by 25 December.

8,500 cases of Christmas cards, wrapping, tags and crackers will also be handled at the centre to bring Christmas to customers via their local store.

For colleagues at the 42,000 square foot Chilled Distribution Centre, things are hotting up in the last few days before Christmas as they see a peak in products arriving at the hub. Christmas is the busiest time of the year for chilled foods, particularly in the last week of shopping before the big day as 140,000 tubs of cream and 82,000 Christmas desserts are sent on their way to the fridges in local food stores.

Robin Farrell, Head of Distribution and Logistics, said, “It’s been an unprecedented year with the surge in demand from shoppers and our dedicated, hard-working colleagues are busy getting everything out to stores to ensure everyone has what they want for an enjoyable Christmas.

“Planning for the big day starts in January each year to make sure shoppers can find everything they want right up until Christmas Day.”

Colleagues at the distribution centre will also have the chance to put their feet up on Christmas day, but will be back to work on Boxing Day (one of their busiest days of the year) ready to keep the shelves stocked again for 2021.