AO.COM at Crewe

Customer Case Studies

July 04, 2016
by Alan Sarjant

The inexorable growth of ecommerce is proving to be a powerful force in the logistics property sector and an interesting example of this phenomenon is our customer AO.com. Over the past six years, AO has expanded from one 360,000 square foot Prologis distribution centre to three facilities totalling over 1 million square feet.

The story began in 2010, when a company called DRL Holdings showed a strong interest in a 360,000 square foot building that we were marketing at Weston Road in Crewe. DRL Holdings was a white goods ecommerce company that had started as Appliances Online.  

The company had only been operating for about four years, but its list of customers – Tesco, Sainsbury’s, John Lewis – was impressive, so I arranged to meet Dave Ashwell, the managing director of DRL’s subsidiary Expert Logistics and John Roberts, the company’s founder, on site.

Prologis had done the first deal with Amazon when it came to the UK, so we have been working in the ecommerce logistics sector for some time and our research showed that DRL had a great deal of potential. As I told Dave Ashwell: “We want you to grow with us.”

Operations under one roof

By moving to Crewe, DRL was able to consolidate all its logistics operations under one roof and the location on Weston Road meant that it had immediate access to the M6 motorway.

The company grew rapidly and in 2013 it was floated and re-launched as AO.com. By 2015, AO was ready to expand into continental Europe and once more Prologis was able to help. We acquired a site in Bergheim-Paffendorf near Cologne are we now constructing a 440,000 square foot purpose-built facility that will include the company’s European HQ.

We want you to grow with us

Alan Sarjant, Prologis UK

Back in the UK

AO has more than doubled its base at Crewe by taking a 380,000 square foot Prologis building, also on Weston Road, which had just come back onto the market.

When I was on site in Bergheim recently with Dave Ashwell he said: “Remember that conversation we had when you said you wanted us to grow with you?  Well, here we are.”