ONE of Portsmouth’s most successful companies is looking to move part of its business to the midlands because it is cheaper than the south.
That is according to Councillor Luke Stubbs, who is Portsmouth City Council’s planning and regeneration cabinet member.
He and the council’s regeneration director, Kathy Wadsworth, met representatives from the online bike retailer on Tuesday.
As previously reported, the company says it has started consulting with its staff but has not yet made a decision on whether it will leave.
Wiggle says it needs to find a warehouse three times its current size –something it says is not available in the area.
Cllr Stubbs said despite the company looking to move to the midlands because of ‘high premises and wage bills in the south east region’, the company is expanding other elements of its online business in Portsmouth.
‘There is some positive news from this,’ he said.
‘We are losing 120 jobs in the warehouse. But they are creating jobs at their head office in Lakeside. In some ways that is good because they are jobs with higher wages.
‘They are taking on 70 people in that part of the business this year.
‘Their warehouse requirements for the south east can’t compete with the low-cost warehousing in the midlands.
‘Labour is more expensive here and warehousing is much more expensive here. It is inevitable they are looking to move to a cheaper part of the country.
‘It’s always unfortunate when people lose their jobs.
‘As a council, we will help them through it.’
When The News approached the company yesterday, it was told nobody was available to comment.