First new tenant for Sunderland's Vaux site to create up to 300 new jobs as Ocado moves in

Up to 300 new jobs are to be created in Sunderland as the first tenant moves onto the city’s fomer Vaux brewery site.

By Kevin Clark
Friday, 26 July, 2019, 08:30
THE BEAM has its first new tenant

Ocado, ‘the world’s largest dedicated online grocery retailer’, has signed a 15-year deal to let the top two floors of THE BEAM, the flagship 59,427sq ft building at the heart of Sunderland’s the development.

The move will see a range of customer service roles recruited by the end of the year. The Sunderland centre is an additional hub for the company, which has a similar set-up in Hatfield, and will support Ocado to continue to grow.

The announcement of its expansion into Sunderland is a huge display of confidence in the city and will see Ocado become the first company to locate on the former site of the Vaux Brewery. Senior representatives from the Hatfield-headquartered business visited a whole host of potential sites across the UK before narrowing down their search and choosing Sunderland, and THE BEAM.

The decision, according to company chiefs, was cemented after they were ‘bowled over by the fantastic amenities’ available at THE BEAM and the city’s reputation as one of the country’s leading customer service hubs.

Ocado was founded in 2000 and was listed on the stock exchange ten years later. It is a FTSE 100 business, with sales of £1.6bn, and employs more 15,000 people across the group.

In February, it announced the creation of an online grocery retail joint venture (JV) with Marks & Spencer plc. The new jobs will provide key customer service support to the JV, and this investment in a new facility in Sunderland is yet another milestone for the company.

Sunderland City Council has supported Ocado since it first visited the city in summer last year and has worked hand-in-hand with the company to ensure all of the required infrastructure is in place ahead of its move.

THE BEAM is part of a £500m city centre vision, with the wider city investment total standing at more than £1.5billion to 2030.

Ian Pattle, General Manager - Customer Service and Strategy at Ocado, commented: “We’re pleased to be coming to Sunderland as we grow our market leading customer service proposition.

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“The new Contact Centre will support our existing service and we look forward to welcoming new talent from the local area to our team.”

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said the announcement was ‘hugely significant for Sunderland’.

“Ocado’s decision to invest in THE BEAM is absolutely fantastic news not only for Sunderland but for the entire North East region,” he said.

“The company is one of the most innovative and progressive in the world when it comes to ecommerce and for Sunderland to be chosen as the base of its newest office is a sign of just how attractive a proposition our city has become over the past few years.

“We have built a fantastic relationship with Ocado over the course of the last year, and we will build on that to ensure they’re supported to make their new Sunderland base an overwhelming success.

“We couldn’t be happier that we’ve attracted such an exceptional brand to our city centre and we look forward to supporting them as they build a team and grow from here.”

He added: “It’s been a long time coming, but this is the start of the Vaux site springing back to life.

“As a council we have backed the city centre with public sector investment, and today’s news demonstrates how that is attracting increased private sector investment. With the latest figures showing £1.5billion being invested in the city, and £500million of that going into the city centre, this is a big step in the transformation of Sunderland as we build a more healthy, vibrant and dynamic city.”