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Smyth & Gibson to close Derry factory

British shirtmaker Smyth & Gibson has announced that it is shutting its factory in Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland, resulting in 34 redundancies. 

The company will be proposing a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) with creditors, following an increase in production costs and a drop in retail sales.

The manufacturers’ customers over the last 15 years have included Marks & Spencer, JW Anderson, Fred Perry, Tiger of Sweden and Margaret Howell.

However, the company said it had lost several important customers in the last year and this revenue had not been replaced.

Twenty of the staff affected have already found new jobs with sportswear brand O’Neills.

It comes after Smyth & Gibson doubled the size of the factory in August, allowing a more efficient layout of its production line.

Sam Morrison, director of Smyth & Gibson, said: “Today is a very sad day for the company. For many years our factory in Derry-Londonderry has been one of the last remaining traditional handmade shirt makers in Britain and Ireland. We have taken every step we could to avoid the closure of the factory. However, we are facing a volatile retail climate that has meant that our current business structure is simply no longer viable.

“We have been in close contact with our employees and have already completed a formal consultation period. I am pleased that we have been able to secure permanent employment for 20 of those affected with O’Neills Irish International Sports Company. We will continue to provide support to all employees as we approach our closure date in May.”

Smyth & Gibson’s own brand is stocked in Selfridges, London; Arnotts, Dublin; Autograph, in city centre Birmingham; Louis Copeland, Dublin, Galway; No.Six, Chelmsford; Six Menswear, st Edmunds, Diffney for Men, Dublin; Evolve Menswear, Letterkenny, Donegal; John O’Gorman, Clonmel and Old Sole, York. 

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