The Midlands is home to several distribution centres, which serve as logistics hubs for UK retailers. As well as third party logistics companies that provide warehousing and transport solutions, the large retailers themselves have a supply chain base in central England.
The big four supermarkets all have distribution centres in the Midlands. Northamptonshire seems to be a popular choice for supermarkets to run their supply chain operations, with Tesco, Asda, Sainsburys and Morrisons all having warehouses in Crick, Northampton or Kettering.
Distribution Centres in the Midlands
Tesco Distribution Centres in the Midlands:
Crick, Hinckley, Lichfield
Sainsburys Distribution Centres in the Midlands:
Crick, Birmingham, Tamworth, Stoke, Northampton
ASDA Distribution Centres in the Midlands:
Morrisons Distribution Centres in the Midlands:
So, why do the UK’s major retailers choose to operate their supply chains from the Midlands? The most apparent factor would be its central location. More or less equidistant from London and Manchester, the East Midlands and West Midlands are within easy reach of the whole country.
Another significant factor is that over a million people live and work in Birmingham. England’s second city has a history of car manufacturing as well as a significant financial sector. The surrounding towns and cities represent an essential part of the national economy.
Notable industrial estates in the region include Magna Park in Lutterworth (South Leicestershire) and Northamptonshire’s Brackmills Industrial Estate and DIRFT (Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal).
Aside from the major grocers mentioned above, major retailers such as Argos and Marks and Spencer base at least part of their supply chain operations in the Midlands. Some logistics companies that operate globally have transport hubs and warehouses in various sites throughout the midlands.
As well as the excellent road links to the rest of England and Britain, the centre of the country also contains two major international airports that can carry air freight. Birmingham International Airport and East Midlands Airport are both in easy reach of the motorway networks and enjoy a level of national accessibility that Heathrow can’t match.
It is useful to give some context to the debate about Britain’s business landscape being too focused in London. It is certainly the case that a lot of international companies are headquartered in the capital city, but the heart of the country is where the heavy lifting takes place.