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Van Dal factory set to close

Footwear brand Van Dal is shutting its manufacturing facility in Norwich at the end of the month, citing rising costs and a fall in wholesale trade.

Van Dal, which is owned by parent company Florida Group, told the Eastern Daily Press that around eight people could lose their jobs.

Florida Group plans to move to a new office and warehouse in Norwich next year, where some factory staff could be redeployed. It expects to employ around 20 people for ecommerce orders at the warehouse.

Tony Linford, managing director of Florida Group, told the newspaper that only around 15% of Van Dal’s manufacturing was still done at the Norwich factory. The rest is done in India and Italy.

He said the fall in the value of sterling since the European Union referendum had pushed up costs by around 20%, while a decline in independent retailers has also made manufacturing unviable.

Linford said: “Our traditional retail business has disappeared, so that has been building up over time, and then combined with Brexit and the devaluation of the pound which hit our costs, those two factors have pushed us over the edge.”

The company recently opened its own store in Cardiff.

“Our traditional business model of manufacturer selling to independent retailer, which sells to the end consumer has broken down, and the industry has become more vertical,” he said. “We have had to put our emphasis on going to the end consumer and that manifests itself in ways like ecommerce, which is growing very rapidly, and then acting as a retailer.”

Van Dal’s design and technical team, which comprises around five people, will remain in Norwich.

Drapers has contacted Van Dal and Florida Group for comment.



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