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Business & Economy

Ocado chooses Sunderland’s The Beam as its new contact centre

A new office development in Sunderland has its first occupier as a global e-commerce business prepares to take up residence at The Beam on the former Vaux Brewery site.

Self-described as ‘the world’s largest dedicated online grocery retailer’, Ocado has signed a 15-year deal to let the top two floors of The Beam, creating up to 300 new jobs in the process.

Ocado will look to recruit in a range of customer service roles as it scales up this new Sunderland centre.

Headquartered in Hatfield, the announcement of Ocado’s expansion into Sunderland is a display of confidence in the city. Senior representatives from the business visited a number of potential sites across the UK before choosing The Beam.

Ocado was founded in 2000 and was floated on the stock exchange ten years later. It is a FTSE 100 business, with revenues £1.6 billion and it employs more than 15,000 people.

It also recently announced the creation of an online grocery joint venture with Marks & Spencer.

Sunderland City Council has been working closely with Ocado to ensure that all of the required infrastructure was in place ahead of its move.

The Beam’s first resident will join companies like Barclays, EE, EDF Energy and Santander who have chosen the North East as the base for their contact centres.

Ian Pattle, general manager of customer service and strategy at Ocado, said: “We’re pleased to be coming to Sunderland as we grow our market leading customer service proposition.

“The new contact centre will support our existing service and we look forward to welcoming new talent from the local area to our team.”

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, added: “Ocado’s decision to invest in The Beam is absolutely fantastic news not only for Sunderland but for the entire North East region.

“The company is one of the most innovative and progressive in the world when it comes to ecommerce and for Sunderland to be chosen as the base of its newest office is a sign of just how attractive a proposition our city has become over the past few years.

“We have built a fantastic relationship with Ocado over the course of the last year, and we will build on that to ensure they’re supported to make their new Sunderland base an overwhelming success.”