The Co-operative Group's new 467,000sq ft distribution hub in Andover, Hampshire, promises to improve availability and service across its South of England store estate.

The new warehouse will enable the group to make more composite deliveries, reducing the number of vehicles arriving at stores on a weekly basis, Co-operative retail logistics director Trevor Ashworth told Convenience Store.

This would not only be good news for retailers, who would benefit from greater efficiencies, but also for the environment, as CO2 emissions and local congestion would be reduced, Ashworth said.

"At the same time, better availability of products will be provided by employing a state-of-the-art warehouse management system incorporating voice technology," he added.

Work on the mega-shed, which will feature green technology to reduce carbon emissions, will begin in May. The first phase of the project will include the construction of a new road junction providing direct access to the A303 dual carriageway.