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Hudson's Bay promises 'best-in-class robotic retail technology' at new DC

Hudson's Bay Company CEO, Jerry Storch, has said this week that the company has made an investment in its systems that "leapfrogs us to the forefront of internet distribution technology".

His comments came as the North American department store group revealed it is set to open a new state-of-the-art, all-channel fulfilment distribution centre (DC) in Pottsville, Pennsylvania on 1 July, which will use robotic technology reportedly around three-times faster than the typical tech used in eCommerce DCs.

The facility will support the fulfilment needs of its retail brands, Lord & Taylor and Saks OFF 5TH, and the plan is to open the 450,000 sq ft site through a phased approach, expanding to 617,500 sq ft by the start of 2017.

Storch and Hudson's Bay believe the new system will reduce costs while improving output volume and accuracy.

"As we execute on our digital strategy, we continue to invest in innovation that enables us to serve our consumers seamlessly, lead the evolution of trends in the retail industry, and expand our business which creates new job opportunities and investment in the community," Storch explained.

The Pottsville DC will provide a base for the retailer's corporate offices, a photo studio and a warehouse. It will initially provide work for around 600 people, which includes the creation of more than 200 new jobs as well as approximately 390 positions that will move from the company's existing Wilkes-Barre DC.

Following the Pottsville DC summer opening, the Wilkes-Barre facility will continue to employ approximately 750 people and will focus on supporting the retail operations of the Lord & Taylor, Saks, and Saks OFF 5TH divisions of the business.

Hudson's Bay plans to introduce the technology to its DC in Scarborough, Ontario in the autumn, with the retailer expecting greater productivity and an increase in storage space without any reduction in full-time staff numbers.

Essential Retail understands that the retailer has been using robots from Kiva, which was acquired by Amazon in 2012 and recently rebranded as Amazon Robotics, in its existing operations, but the new investment taps into the technology provided by Opex.

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