John Lewis has announced that it will open a new distribution centre (DC) in Milton Keynes, to support the growth of its omnichannel business in both shops and online.

John Lewis has signed a 25-year lease on the 638,000 sqft warehouse. The DC will support the retailer's existing DC at Magna Park which opened in 2009, and the adjacent Magna Park 2, which will be fully operational in 2016.

The move is part of the omnichannel retailer's plans for improvements in productivity, availability and customer service as well as supporting its expansion plans. Recognising shopping habits are changing and with omnichannel giving shoppers more choices than ever before, the retailer is strengthening its distribution network to ensure it continues to deliver a coordinated and convenient shopping experience to its customers.

The new DC will be responsible for large furniture and electricals and home furnishings, while Magna Park one and two will be responsible for handling smaller products such as iPads and accessories and hanging garments respectively.

Distribution Partners located at four of John Lewis's existing sites have received the proposal to relocate to either the new DC or to another of the retailer's operations in Milton Keynes. This includes 239 partners at three Milton Keynes sites, eight from Stevenage and 37 from Carlisle. Each of the partners will be offered a new role at the new site or at other operations in Milton Keynes.

Dino Rocos, operations director at John Lewis, says: "As customers' shopping habits evolve, so too does our operational business model. The new DC will enable us to better respond, react and fulfil omnichannel shopping experiences be it via phone, tablet, desktop or visiting a shop.

"For the supply chain this means improving availability. Our new Milton Keynes DC will complement our two Magna Park sites and provide us with the space to continue to build on the improvements we have made in providing better service to our shops and customers.

"We recognise the high level of talent and valuable experience that currently exists with our partners across the sites that we propose to relocate, and every partner will be guaranteed a new role at our new DC."