The Very Group, operator of Very.co.uk, has completed the migration of all clothing and footwear returns to Skygate, its highly automated fulfilment centre in the East Midlands. The transfer signifies considerable benefits for Very’s 4.5m customers, with returned product available for re-sale within 30 minutes and refunds being provided faster than ever before.

The online retailer has processed more than 750,000 returned items at Skygate since the three month-long migration from Raven Mill in Chadderton, Greater Manchester, operated by Clipper Logistics, began in April 2021. Non-fashion items like electrical appliances and tech products, which generally have low return rates and require specialist inspection, will continue to be processed in Greater Manchester.

The milestone is well-timed for Very, as the retailer gears up for another strong ‘Golden Quarter’ period in 2021, including Black Friday and Christmas.

Skygate’s highly automated sortation, selection, picking and packaging technology has orders ready for dispatch within 30 minutes of being placed by a customer, compared to around four hours at Very’s previous fulfilment centres. The fastest order to date, processed during Black Friday 2020, was ready for dispatch in just 18 minutes.

The 850,000 square foot fulfilment centre, which launched the day the first national lockdown began in March 2020, shipped 20m items and 8.1m orders in its first full year in operation, and processed up to 256 orders per minute during the retailer’s busiest ever Christmas period in 2020.

Phil Hackney, chief operating officer at Very, said: “Across the retail industry, clothing and footwear return rates tend to be higher than for other categories, but also simpler to process. Bringing them under the same roof as our fulfilment operation at Skygate, where they can benefit from our market-leading automated technology, makes perfect sense for our customers and our business.

“Faster refunds and making returned product available for re-sale more quickly will create an even better customer experience and support our continued growth as we head into the crucial Black Friday and Christmas periods.”

Skygate is now responsible for 95% of Very orders, houses six million items and processes 750,000 products every week. Meanwhile the site is helping the retailer to meet its environmental goals by taking one million miles off the road, reducing packaging waste and improving its heat, light and power footprint.

Fancy joining the team at Skygate and taking advantage of the flexible shift patterns, gym, multi-use games area, multi-faith room, colleague recognition scheme and personalised development plans? Contact Kieran Grundy: Kieran.grundy@theverygroup.com.