El Corte Inglés turns department store into distribution centre
What: Eibar store in northern Spain will be transformed
Why is it important: The Spanish retailer adapts to ecommerce surge through a major digital innovation project
El Corte Inglés is converting one of its department stores located in Eibar in northern Spain into a fulfilment centre for online orders. The department store chain wants to serve the entire Basque Country, especially focusing on food deliveries.
It is the first branch to become part of the chain's major digital innovation project. El Corte Inglés wants to focus fully on e-commerce, especially for food, and is therefore thoroughly reviewing its real estate portfolio. Several less profitable stores will be closing, including one in Barcelona, while a number of office buildings and logistics centres will be put up for sale.
The Eibar store will be ready for use within the next few months. The warehouse will contain 25 000 different products but the premises will also become a service centre. Digital customer and support services will be centralised on-site, both for the company and for third parties, including telecom operator Sweno of which El Corte Inglés is a co-founder.
Nevertheless, consumers will still be able to visit the former department store: part of the shopping centre will become a proper 'digital store'. Customers will not be able to see the products as such, but can consult online catalogues, place orders and check the availability of goods in neighbouring department stores.