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F&F puts faith in UK manufacturing with 'meaningful' order

Tesco’s clothing division F&F has placed a “meaningful” first order for nearly 50,000 garments to be produced by a newly launched factory in the northeast of England.

The AMA (Apparel Manufacturing Academy) Group, in Peterlee, Durham was set up this spring by former Claremont Garments directors Julie and David Price and Paul Watts.

The F&F order – which is thought to be worth a six-figure sum for women’s vest tops – is believed to be one of the first from a major clothing player and will enable the factory to expand its head count from 25 to 150.

Initial conversations started in February; the order was placed earlier this month and will land in stores by early August.

F&F chief executive Jason Tarry told Drapers British-made product was key to his strategy as it offered shorter lead times, which enabled the team to react to new trends or unanticipated demand. It also resonated with UK and international customers.

He added there was “definitely potential” for F&F to increase its orders in future noting the category on order was “not niche”, and this demonstrated there was “a good volume opportunity for British manufacturing.”

Currently about 2% of Tesco’s clothes are made in the UK.

Tarry added: “We have great confidence in the operation and management team so we were happy to commit. At 48,000 women’s vests it’s not a small order – that’s not a trial, it‘s a meaningful order.”

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