Exel, the global leader in supply chain management, has won a six-year contract with Boots to store and distribute its Christmas giftware lines, providing a seamless 'one stop' solution to the retailer's seasonal logistics requirements. The value of the contract will be in the region of 40 million over six years.

The operation will be based at a 370,000 sq ft distribution centre (DC) near Worcester which Boots has recently leased specifically to handle the work. Activity will be concentrated between July and the following January to supply the Christmas demand. It is planned that the Exel site will become the seasonal operation centre for Boots UK and will handle other occasional lines throughout the year.

"Exel represents the combination of strategic thinking, ability to integrate with our processes and strong systems of its own that we were looking for," said Mark Langrish, Senior Category Manager, Boots. "Christmas is a critical part of our commercial offering and requires an expert third party logistics provider to manage the supply chain successfully, working with us on a long-term partnership basis to achieve year-on-year improvements in the operation."

Exel will be handling some 3,000 Christmas product lines with ranges including health and beauty products to Adventure Experience vouchers. The majority of the products coming into Worcester will be arriving from Boot's UK manufacturing plants and contract suppliers; in addition, 20% will come from the Far East. At peak, about 35,000 pallets will be stored. Exel will organise transport to Boot's 17 regional DCs in the UK and Ireland and to a transhipment point in Lichfield for 'direct to store' pallet consolidation.

The Worcester centre will be run on a shared-user basis. Initially, approximately 40 new warehouse staff will be employed there, rising to about 250 during the peak period each year.

"Building on our existing relationship with Boots in the UK and Thailand, Exel has demonstrated its ability to respond with a fresh approach to a specific logistics requirement," said Simon Payne, Business Director, Exel. "We are very pleased to have won the business and are confident that we can provide significant service enhancements and cost-efficiencies."

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