Page last updated at 11:09 GMT, Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Burberry to cut up to 290 UK jobs

Burberry store

Luxury clothing brand Burberry is to close a sewing plant in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, as part of a shake-up which will cost up to 290 jobs.

The site in Eastwood, which makes basic outerwear for the label, will shut with the loss of up to 170 jobs.

Another 120 jobs will go at its only remaining UK plants in Castleford and Keighley, West Yorkshire.

The company said investment would now be focused on the Castleford factory, where its famous trenchcoats are made.

It is also closing its Thomas Burberry line in Spain, with the loss of about 250 jobs.

'Very bad news'

In 2006 Burberry announced the closure of its factory in the Rhondda Valley in South Wales, which employed 300 people.

The Rotherham sewing facility has been owned by Burberry for less than five years.

There's nothing else round here... we're devastated
Angela Adams, Burberry employee

Tim Roache, regional officer of the GMB union, said: "This is very bad news for Rotherham.

"We will want to have a thorough discussion with Burberry on the logic of this rationalisation before we are able to move forward.

"We have been around the blocks with Burberry before as they sought to move jobs from the UK to China - we want to make sure nothing like that is happening this time."

The Burberry plant is situated on a roundabout in the Eastwood area of Rotherham - one of the most deprived parts of South Yorkshire - where shocked workers gathered outside the gates on Tuesday.

Sales fall

Patricia Turner, 52, who has worked at the site for 35 years, said: "Everyone's so upset. It's just a shock. We did not know."

Her colleague, Angela Adams, 39, said: "It's a disgrace. I only found out when my friend stopped me as I was walking in the gates.

"She said 'Have you heard it on the news?' We had no idea.

"There's nothing else round here. We're devastated."

Meanwhile, Burberry also announced that its like-for-like sales for the last three months of 2008 fell by 3%.

Chief executive Angela Ahrendts said its markets "remained challenging and volatile".

Total sales were 329m, up 30% from the same period of 2007.

But the company said orders from its stores had been lower than expected, especially in Spain and the US.

It predicted in November that its results for the full year would be at the lower end of expectations.

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