Tibbett & Britten Group plc has won a multi-million pound long-term logistics contract with Mothercare UK Limited, the principal operating division of Mothercare plc. The five-year contract will be fully operational by July 2001.

Under the new arrangement, Tibbett & Britten will be responsible for Mothercare's UK central warehousing and primary and secondary distribution operations from its existing 19,700 sq m (212,00o sq ft) rail-connected shared-user Daventry International Distribution Centre (DIDC1), adjacent to Daventry International Railport within DIRFT.

Mothercare will occupy much of the space at DIDC1 currently taken up by Tibbett & Britten's existing client C&A, which is withdrawing from the UK market. In addition to making use of the semi-automated hanging garment system in the five-floor mezzanine – which fills half the DIDC1 footprint – Mothercare will also take an initial 6,500 sq m (70,000 sq ft) of the pallet racking in the high-bay section of the warehouse. Tibbett & Britten is already well advanced with the construction of a second 24,700 sq m (266,000 sq ft) rail-connected distribution center (DIDC2) next door, which is scheduled to open in mid-2001 and will accommodate any business displaced from DIDC1.

Under contract, Tibbett & Bitten will make deliveries to all 257 Mothercare stores in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and will also undertake warehousing and pick and pack operations for Mothercare's 167 overseas franchise outlets. Products handled will include clothing, buggies, car seats, nursery equipment and toys.

At peak, the contract is expected to employ 300 people and Tibbett & Britten will be recruiting additional warehousing, clerical supervisory and driving personnel. The company will operate a dedicated Mothercare fleet of around 50 commercial vehicles, and will additionally use the resources of its own clothing logistics network.

Mike Evans, managing director of Tibbett & Bitten European clothing and textiles, said: "Mothercare is a very good fit with our existing operations. The move to central warehousing can help improve stock replenishing performance - ensuring the right product is available in the right store at the right time - while the nominated carrier scheme that we will be introducing will help the company gain additional advantages."

Chris Martin, CEO of Mothercare plc, added: "The arrangements with Tibbett & Britten will allow us to re-engineer our supply chain and derive benefits from flexibility and improved product availability. The implementation of the new supply chain solution will be a key focus for us in the future development of the business."