Meadowhall to launch warehouse business as online shopping soars

Meadowhall is set to join the warehousing boom as sales online continue to soar.

By David Walsh
Monday, 28th June 2021, 4:47 pm

Bosses have earmarked land to the south for a ‘last-mile’ logistics operation and expect to submit a planning application this year.

The move is a ‘priority for 2022’ in co-owner British Land’s annual report. In May the firm reported a £1bn loss - its third straight year of losses.

The report states that while the ‘broader retail market remains challenging’ the focus now was on ‘retail and fulfillment’.

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Debenhams Meadowhall closes for good in May. Video by Gillian Marriott

No information on jobs or investment in Sheffield was disclosed.

The move comes as warehousing booms to meet demand from online shopping.

Meadowhall director Darren Pearce said they were ‘challenged’ by online shopping and the pandemic, which shuttered shops during lockdown and still limits visitor numbers in the centre.

He added: “There’s no denying there’s a challenge and consumers have changed how they are buying and online has increased.

Image of Meadowhall with a leisure extension. Land to the south is set to be used for a warehousing business.

“We have embraced change with plans for logistics hubs.”

British Land co-owns Meadowhall with Norges Bank Investment Management. BL’s annual report shows Meadowhall made a £414m loss on ‘ordinary activities after taxation’ last year.

The firm also aims to build delivery hubs in Teesside and on unwanted retail parks in London.

Earlier this month, The Star revealed fashion firm Boohoo was opening a warehouse in Tinsley run by Clipper set to create 200 jobs. And trucking firm ASG opened a site in Chapeltown aiming to create 400 jobs.

Darren Pearce, Meadowhall director.

Last week Panattoni announced plans for a logistics complex near Junction 1 of the M18 in Rotherham. And Verdion has just said it wants to build four warehouses at its iPort development in Doncaster. There are four giant Amazon warehouses in the borough already.

Earlier this year Meadowhall lost three large stores: Debenhams, a combined TopShop and TopMan and Miss Selfridge.

Mr Pearce said he hoped to announce new occupiers in summer. And he insisted plans for a £150m extension were still on.

Planning permission for a £300m ‘leisure hall’ was granted in 2018.

The project was pulled early in 2020 due to the pandemic. British Land submitted a revised application for a £150m scheme at the end of 2020.

Local journalism holds the powerful to account and gives people a voice. Please take out a digital subscription or buy a paper.

Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor.