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.”