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Friday, 12 April, 2002, 16:27 GMT 17:27 UK
US cosmetics firm shuts UK factory
Atomic Kitten
Avon signed up pop group Atomic Kitten to endorse its products
US cosmetics firm Avon is to close its UK factory and move production to Poland, with the loss of 465 jobs.

Production at the plant in Northampton is to be phased out over the next 12 months as part of a cost-cutting scheme announced last year.

Products produced at the plant will now be manufactured at the firm's expanded Garwolin factory in Poland.

Avon said it would continue to employ 1,920 people in the UK, including at its British headquarters in Northampton and its distribution centre in Corby, as well as its regional sales staff.

Lower costs

Avon spokesman John Kitchener said overall production costs had to be reduced to meet growth in demand in Europe at a competitive cost.

He said manufacturing costs in the UK were more than double those in Poland.

In March, Avon said it would cut 3,800 jobs over the next two years as part of a plan announced last May to streamline business operations and revamp its supply chain.

The move is not expected to affect any of the company's 160,000 UK sales staff, most of whom work for Avon on a self-employed basis.

In December, Avon announced it was speeding up its cost-cutting programme.

The company said it planned to realign supply chain, administration and other areas in a "cluster" structure that focused on geographic regions, rather than separate infrastructures for each country.

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