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IM Properties completes sale to Ocado at Birch Coppice Business Park

15 March 2011

IM Properties has completed the sale of 35.5 acres to Ocado Group plc after securing detailed planning permission for a 575,000 sq ft Customer Fulfilment Centre (“CFC”) at its Birch Coppice Business Park, North Warwickshire.

The £210m facility – Ocado’s second Customer Fulfilment Centre – will generate over 2,000 jobs, providing a positive boost for the local and regional economies. The high-tech CFC, incorporating several operational levels and mezzanine structures, will have a geographical footprint of 350,000 sq ft, and a capacity of approximately 120,000 orders per week at initiation of operations - increasing to approximately 180,000 orders per week.

Due to be completed in late 2012, the development represents the first development on the Birch Coppice site’s 124-acre Phase 2, which has already received planning permission for up to 2 million sq ft of design and build opportunities.

Kevin Ashfield, development manager at IM Properties, said:
“Ocado is a major, fast-growing online food retailer and the confidence the company has shown in its commitment to Birch Coppice is testament to the strength and quality of our location.

“Birch Coppice presents an attractive offer for any business, with its location and proximity to the UK’s motorway network and availability of a local workforce. We are looking forward to the construction of the unit commencing next month now that the ground works are complete.”

News of the successful planning application follows an announcement, earlier this month, that Ocado is expanding its delivery network with the opening of new regional distribution ‘spoke’ sites in Bristol (now open) and Wimbledon (opening in May). The online supermarket reported a gross sales increase of 24.7% for the 12 weeks to 20 February 2011.

Tim Steiner, Chief Executive Officer, Ocado, said:
“Ocado is growing rapidly across the country and Birch Coppice is the perfect site for the next phase of our development.

“When our new CFC opens in 2012 we will have capacity to provide many more customers with the UK’s leading online grocery offering. The Ocado team is looking forward to making its mark here, becoming a major local employer and taking food retail to the next level.”

Birch Coppice Business Park, incorporating the Birmingham Intermodal Freight Terminal, is the largest rail-served development site in the region. Due to its outstanding location and quality of site, the development is already home to a range of blue-chip companies, including TNT Logistics, Severn Trent Services and UPS.

The infrastructure and ground works currently being undertaken across all of Phase 2 of Birch Coppice are due to be completed in July 2011, with design and build opportunities available for units up to 1 million sq ft.

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