J Sainsbury wants to shut down a distribution centre in the South East of England to reduce operational costs.

The supermarket chain will shift the distribution volume from its Northfleet centre, in Kent, to the Charlton distribution centre, in London.

The retail chain has confirmed to just-food that discussions with 191 warehouse, management, clerical and security colleagues took place on Tuesday (10 January 2006). Sainsbury stressed there will be no reduction in the number of drivers required across the south.

Company spokesperson Gillian Taylor said: “It has become apparent that there may no longer be a requirement for a distribution centre to be based in Northfleet and it is anticipated that, subject to consultation, the site will close in April 2006.”

Sainsbury closed another distribution centre this week in Rotherham, Yorkshire, after consultation finished on 10 January 2006. The closure was proposed back in October.

A small number of workers will stay on until the end of the month to dismantle the Rotherham site.

Sainsbury is hoping to achieve improved service to stores and greater warehouse and transport efficiencies. 

Logistics group Exel manages the distribution centres – the same group that will oversee the termination of two Somerfield depots in the same region of England, also in April.