May 24, 2019
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Shirt maker Smyth & Gibson to close Derry factory

May 24, 2019

Shirt brand and manufacturer Smyth & Gibson has been forced to announce the closure of its Derry factory after losing a major contract with a key customer.

Photo:Smyth & Gibson

The move will affect one of the last remaining shirt factories in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, leading to the loss of three dozen jobs.

Smyth & Gibson, which manufactures shirts for brands including Marks & Spencer, JW Anderson, Fred Perry, Tiger of Sweden and Margaret Howell for the past 14 years, said it was struggling to cope with a rise in production costs and a fall in retail sales.

The company will also launch a company voluntary agreement (CVA) with creditors.

Sam Morrison, a director of Smyth & Gibson said: “It is a very sad day for the company. For many years our factory in Derry has been one of the last traditional handmade shirt makers in Britain and Ireland.

“We have taken every step we could to avoid the closure of the factory, however we are facing a volatile retail climate which has meant our current business structure is simply no longer viable.

“We have been in close contact with our employees and have already completed a formal consultation period. I am pleased that we have been able to secure permanent employment for twenty of those affected with O’Neill’s International Sports Company and we will continue to support all employees as we approach our closure date in May.”

Smyth & Gibson shirts are also stocked in department stores including Selfridges.

The news further underlines the pressure facing fashion brands and manufacturers in the UK in an extremely tough climate marked by fierce competition, higher costs and the weaker consumer confidence.

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