Lakes firm opens £10million extension

Tim Farron MP cuts the ribbon at the new Lakeland centre, watched by managing director Sam Rayner, centre manager Claire Seddon and  Peter Thornton, chairman of South Lakeland District Council

Tim Farron MP cuts the ribbon at the new Lakeland centre, watched by managing director Sam Rayner, centre manager Claire Seddon and Peter Thornton, chairman of South Lakeland District Council

First published in News by , Reporter

A FAMILY-OWNED Lake District firm has opened a new £10million extension at its Kendal distribution centre.

Lakeland said the expansion at Westmorland Business Park had increased its storage capacity by 50 per cent and helped create more jobs in the area.

Managing director Sam Rayner said it has also meant the thriving business can stay true to its namesake and remain in the Lake District.

“Kendal and Windermere are not ideal locations for a distribution based business because you’re a long way from the main centre of population.

“We don’t see it as a huge disadvantage, however, and the two main advantages to being in the Lake District are the workforce and the environment. Extending our distribution centre allows us to deve-lop our business.”

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Lakeland’s headquarters sit opposite Windermere railway station, but the Kendal centre is the ‘engine room of the company’, stocking products which are picked both for mail order and high-street stores.

The company now wants to introduce more home and cook-ware products into its range, with the opening up space for around 17,000 extra items.

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The Kendal site currently houses 200 permanent staff and 100 new jobs are expected over the next few years, although these will be across both the Kendal and Windermere sites. Lakeland hopes to increase its number of stores both nationally and internationally — it recently opened its first two outlets in India and is set to launch three stores in the Middle East and one in Inverness.

This month will also see the firm celebrate its 50th anniversary, although Mr Rayner’s father set up the original business — Lakeland Poultry Packers — several years before that.

“Initially it was more to do with farming products but that evolved into Lakeland Plastics which was founded just over 50 years ago,” he explained.

“In all that time we’ve retained family ownership and the way in which the company operates is very much a family environment.”

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