A major jobs boost has been confirmed for Athlone this morning.
The move, flagged in last week's Westmeath Independent, will see discount retailer Mr. Price establish a nationwide distribution centre in the former Nexans plant in the town with the creation of 200 jobs.
In a statement on Monday morning, the Irish company said they had purchased the long vacant Nexans (Cable and Wireless) premises on the Cornmaddy Road in Athlone, where they plan to house a new centralised distribution centre for the company.
This will see the consolidation of three existing warehouses in Mayo, Tipperary and Dublin into a new 155,000 square foot facility on 15 acres in the town which will distribute stock to the chain's 42 stores nationwide and will facilitate a planned expansion to 60 stores over the next two years.
As a result, 80 jobs are expected to be filled before Christmas, according to Emma Pillion, an Athlone native, who is the Property Director with Mr. Price, with a total of 200 jobs expected over the next three years.
“It is anticipated that works will commence in August, with an overall investment in the site up to 2020 exceeding €2.5m. The Midlands should benefit from the enterprise with the need for transportation and logistics for the transit of goods around the country and also for courier facilities for online sales,” Ms Pillion commented.
The new distribution centre will be an automated facility which will receive stock from suppliers in Ireland, the UK, mainland Europe and beyond. All stock will be sorted via a radio frequency identification (RFID) system for redistribution to Mr. Price stores across Ireland.
Mr. Price currently employs 15 people in the existing store in Athlone, and employs over 750 staff directly in Mr. Price stores throughout Ireland, and a total of 900 employees nationwide.
For more on this story, read this Wednesday's Westmeath Independent.