Berisford to stay in UK

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BERISFORD International will continue to source shoes from the UK if it succeeds in taking over C&J Clark, Britain's best- known shoe maker, writes John Murray.

There had been fears that thousands of jobs would be lost if Clark was sold to Berisford, the former sugar company that is now a shell looking for businesses. But a source close to the company said that it would probably put more emphasis on UK shoe production.

'Of course producing in places like China would be cheaper, but the long lead times and loss of quality control mitigate against such a move.'

Berisford also plans to keep Clark's current management. 'They've got a perfectly sensible forward plan, which we would stick to, with a few changes, such as the increased emphasis on UK manufacturing.'

He said the management needed to be freed from the anxieties of the family feud that has dogged Clark over the past two years.

Berisford offered 205p a share for Clark, valuing it at about pounds 160m.