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Thursday, 13 January, 2000, 18:38 GMT
Dewhirst sacks 1,000 to leave UK




The textile manufacturer Dewhirst is closing two factories with the loss of 1,000 jobs.

The closure is part of an ongoing programme to cut costs and move production overseas to countries like Morocco, Indonesia and Malaysia, where already most of the firm's manufacturing is now done.

The factories, based in Winsford, Cheshire, and Peterlee, County Durham, make ladies blouses and men's jackets, trousers and shirts.

Dewhirst still has 10 factories in the UK, employing 4,500 people mainly in the north east of England, Yorkshire and Wales.

The GMB union tonight blamed the job losses on the announcement by Marks & Spencer that it was to move the source of much of its product manufacturing abroad.

Dewhirst is a supplier to Marks & Spencer, selling about 90% of its production to the retailer.

But a spokesman for the firm insisted that the job losses were not in any way Marks & Spencer related, nor were they due to any loss of business.

He blamed the closures on increased competition leading to a fall in profits.

"This decision is absolutely no reflection on the skill or professionalism of the employees of the factories in Peterlee and Winsford whose work has always been of outstanding quality," the spokesman added.

In 1998, the company saw its profits fall by nearly a third, despite an increase of turnover.

Ever tighter profit margins are squeezing the profitability out of the textiles industry.

At the start of 1999, company chairman Tim Dewhirst had said that his economic outlook was not "encouraging".

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See also:
26 Nov 98 |  The Company File
600 jobs cut at M&S clothing supplier
25 Nov 98 |  The Economy
Textile workers' jobs plea
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