Published on 3 - June - 2009
Stax shows suppliers its new HQCash & carry giant Stax Trade Centres this week showed its massive new Manchester warehouse to an invited audience of more than 200 suppliers.
The new warehouse, which is right across the road from the existing Stax branch, is almost double its size: 100,000sq ft against 52,000. It has 770 selling bays against the present 500, with 74 promotional ends instead of 40, 72 pallet displays instead of 20, 50% more checkouts, and 220 parking spaces instead of 77.
Deliveries in now go to a separate area at the rear of the building, instead of fighting customers for parking space at the front; and there is a 140-seat air-conditioned café. Eaves height of 8m means racking four pallets high, and this is the first Stax branch with a sprinkler system - which added £400,000 to the cost and three months to the build time.
"The commitment to the new Manchester branch was made despite the plunge in the market," chairman Eddie Brady told suppliers at the presentation. "We needed to expand to cope with the constant pressure imposed by increasing customer throughput and sales."
The company spent three years looking for ways to expand, said operations director Nigel Wright. "All along, the answer was right under our noses." The site across the road became available in 2007 - Stax lost the bid to buy it outright, but subsequently the successful bidder offered it back, so Stax became the owner after all. The existing buildings were demolished in the winter of 2007, and construction of the new building started on August 1 2008 with a proposed build time of 42 weeks. But there have been hiccups along the way: car park levels had to be revised at the very end of the project, and a three-week over-run meant that the supplier presentation went ahead with no mains power, but with the building run by a generator.
Stax will formally take possession in mid-June, and the official opening day is September 1. "And you need to work closely with us to make sure we all maximise the sales opportunities," purchasing director Simon Wright told the assembled suppliers. Manchester branch manager Mark Duff emphasised the point: "My aim for the new branch will be to take the sales from £28m to £40m as soon as possible," he said.
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