CLOTHING giant FatFace has become the first company to move into a new industrial park with the opening of a new £5m base.
The lifestyle clothing and accessories retailer is the first company to open its doors at the new 45-acre Dunsbury Park, in Havant.
Business chief executive Anthony Thompson opened FatFace’s new 80,000 sq ft distribution centre, joined by workers and special guests.
He dubbed the new base as ‘a tipping point’ for the future of the business, which could double its size in sales.
Mr Thompson, 53, said: ‘We have about 200 staff with us, and we expect that number to grow by about 100 over the next few years, which is great for the people of Havant.
‘We looked at opportunities to re-locate our distribution facilities to the Midlands, but I want to be clear about the fact that staying in Havant and moving to Dunsbury Park was our first choice.
‘FatFace has grown enormously over the last 10 years and we reached a stage where at peak trading times, we were having to put some of our storage into third party locations.
‘We didn’t have the flexibility to offer certain services to customers and stores, which we can now do after the largest investment we’ve ever made as a business.’
The company’s old distribution centre was situated at Ridgway, Havant, where its headquarters remain.
The new space will allow for increased intake and dispatch, providing a faster service to customers and the 175 FatFace stores in the UK.
Mr Thompson added: ‘Havant is a fantastic place to do business.
‘We have 550 years’ worth of experience within our crew in the area, and we want to see it as our long-term home.’
The move has allowed the company to consider opening four new stores in America before May next year.
MP for Havant Alan Mak said: ‘FatFace has chosen Havant as the hub of its global distribution operations and is leading the way at Dunsbury Park as an iconic brand that shows what good business is all about.
‘There’s a staggering 585,000 sq ft of space across the park – shortly it will be open for business and I look forward to welcoming further investment at the site.’
Distribution centre workers welcomed the new facilities inside.
Operations manager Ricardo Guimaraes, 33, said: ‘This centre is three times as big as our old one, and it’s purpose-built so we now have all the tools we need to make our day-to-day working lives easier.
‘It’s an amazing place.’