A third of staff at the East Cambridgeshire distribution hub for the department store Fortum and Mason intend to relocate when operations move to Northamptonshire.  

iForce, which runs the site at the Elean Business Park, in Sutton, near Ely, confirmed in February it would be moving the operations to larger premises in Corby.  

It was understood the changes could affect around 90 jobs – but the company has now revealed around a third of the Sutton-based workforce intend to relocate.  

Paul Thirkell, the CEO of iForce, said: “The relocation project remains on plan and we are delighted that around one third of the employees have already confirmed their intention to relocate and remain with iForce.  

“We are optimistic more will wish to transition before the closure date.” 

Ely Standard: Stock image of a Fortnum and Mason Christmas hamper.Stock image of a Fortnum and Mason Christmas hamper. (Image: Lewis Whyld / PA Archive / PA Images)It is understood the Sutton site will be closed from April 1.  

Previously, workers complained to The Ely Standard that iForce had not supported staff in their search for alternative employment.  

A shift supervisor also claimed the basic salary of a supervisor relocating to Corby would drop by just over £3,000 and that a shift manager would lose £7,000 a year.  

But in his most recent statement, Mr Thirkell added: “We have held lots of one-to-ones to accommodate as many people’s needs as possible and working with local businesses are supporting local alternatives for both permanent and temporary works.  

“We continue to work tirelessly to support as many people as possible in this process and thank our teams for their professionalism, and outstanding effort during this time."   

The iForce website explains it provides Fortnum and Mason with a “national distribution centre for store, wholesale and global e-commerce orders” at Sutton, near Ely.  

It says the contract was awarded in 2012 after Fortnum and Mason decided to outsource this area of its operations.   

In a statement, Fortnum and Mason described itself as “a growing business” and it had taken the decision to consolidate its Sutton and Northampton distribution centres into one “flagship site” at Corby.