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 Friday, 20 December, 2002, 10:49 GMT
Clothing factory takeover unveiled
Dewhirst's Swansea factory
Dewhirst has shut down all of its Welsh operation
A west Wales firm has announced plans to take over a factory in Cardigan which used to be run by the clothing manufacturer Dewhirst.

Cardigan-based Seconds Ahead, which runs 32 clothing shops across Wales, hopes to create 30 jobs at the site where more than 300 people lost their jobs in October.

Seconds Ahead has a superb reputation in Cardigan and employs a lot of people

Local councillor Trevor Griffiths

The company, which employs 250 people, intends to turn the factory into office space, half of which it will rent out to other companies.

Seconds Ahead which sells surplus clothing from major manufacturers hopes to open up to 50 more outlets over the next four years.

Dewhirst, which makes ladies clothing for Marks and Spencer, pulled out of the factory, with the loss of around 325 jobs.

In November, it shut its Welsh operation down entirely when it closed its Fishguard base, with 168 redundancies.

The decision ended four years of cut-backs resulting in 1,400 job losses.

Seconds Ahead propreitor Andrew Davies confirmed the company was purchasing the factory.

"In the short-term we are looking to move about 30 people, and create about 10 jobs.

"We will be looking to double that in about five years," he added.

'Superb reputation'

The Seconds Ahead announcement has been given a cautious welcome by civic leaders in Cardigan.

"Obviously, it would be good news if anyone were to take over," said local councillor Trevor Griffiths.

Machinist generic
Dewhirst made trousers for M&S

"Seconds Ahead has a superb reputation in Cardigan and employs a lot of people.

"They have been very loyal to the area and I would be delighted if this is true," he said.

"The same firm took over a large factory in Cilgerran and filled it in weeks.

"Their credentials could not be better," he added.

However, councillor John Adams-Lewis said he would prefer the factory to remain empty for longer if it meant a major employer - offering more jobs - could be attracted.

Dewhirst's departure from Wales began with the closure of its factory in Ystalyfera, Swansea, in 1998 when 300 staff were made redundant.

Last year, 165 jobs went when the plant at Lampeter was shut down.

In August the Dewhirst plant at Fforestfach in Swansea, closed with the loss of 435 jobs.


More from south west Wales
See also:

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