A NEW e-commerce operation has been launched by an East Lancashire sports supplements venture.

Bosses at Science in Sport are hoping that the fledgling facility for PhD, which they acquired last November for £32m, will help them to mirror their sales success for their original brands.

The 16,000 square foot centre, on the Lomeshaye Industrial Estate near Nelson, has been fitted out with the latest in integrated inventory management systems, says the firm.

It has been secured in a leasehold unit close to the group’s existing manufacturing and packaging site on Churchill Way.

Stephen Moon, Science in Sport’s chief executive, said: “Our objective is to grow PhD’s own online sales aggressively in the same way that we have grown sales from the SiS website, which were up 40 per cent last year.

“The opening of the new e-commerce facility, which follows the relaunch of the PhD website, will provide the operational capability to deliver PhD’s online growth, whilst also delivering efficiencies through the integration of PhD’s and SiS’s online fulfilment.

“This new e-commerce facility represents another important milestone in bringing together the PhD and SiS businesses and confirms that the overall integration plan remains firmly on track.”

The first orders from the e-commerce hub, which will handle PhD’s Smart bars among other products, have already been dispatched and managers say they are happy with customer engagement feedback to date.

Last month PhD launched its first vegan Smart bar, which it is also selling through Holland and Barrett and Amazon.

Mr Moon said their line, based on past work with plant proteins, had eliminated some of the previous drawbacks of vegan power bars, including factors such as “low protein, high sugar and poor taste”.

SiS, which originall started out in Altham, already has a partnership with Blackburn Rovers, for nutrition products, British Cycling and Team Sky on board, and has Sir Chris Hoy and Adam Peaty as brand ambassadors.