Online sales boom for UK

From The Sunday Times

SHROUDED in autumnal mist, within earshot of the din of the M1 motorway in Bedfordshire, extends an enormous, grey windowless building that covers an area six times as large as St Paul’s cathedral, or seven times the size of the Royal Navy’s biggest aircraft carrier.

Amazon.co.uk’s “fulfilment centre” at Ridgmont, just south of Milton Keynes, is well into a pre-Christmas recruitment drive that will treble the size of its workforce in 12 weeks to deal with up to 450,000 parcels dispatched on each of the busiest days in the festive season.

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The 1,000 students and temporary workers arriving at Ridgmont and its sister site at Gourock, west of Glasgow, are hard evidence of the explosive 25% to 30% annual growth in internet retailing.

Whether it is customers buying Humble Pie by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay from Amazon, or one of the 42,000 cars for sale on Ebay’s UK website, or mince pies from Tesco, online retailing this year is expected to rack up sales of £10.3 billion, excluding services such as travel and finance.

“We are planning for very strong and sustainable expansion,” said Brian McBride, Amazon UK’s managing director.

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