Pringle sale cramps style of cashmere
Hilary Clarke reports on the fears of Scottish producers of the luxury fibre
Sunday 19 September 1999
Edinburgh-based Dawson International hopes to cash in on the acquisitive appetites of international luxury goods companies like Gucci and LVMH by putting its ailing Pringle brand up for sale.
Dawson hopes the brand, which industry insiders say could now be worth as little as pounds 5m, will raise the necessary capital for it to invest in its other cashmere businesses. In fact, Dawson has been quietly winding down Pringle's cashmere products and the bulk of its sweaters are now in lamb's wool - although the fortunes of the famous diamond-patterned v-necks have also suffered.
Even so, manufacturers of cashmere knitwear around the Scottish border town of Hawick are concerned that the publicity surrounding Pringle's sale will cast a further cloud over smaller manufacturers of the luxury fibre.
This is despite a dramatic fall in the price of cashmere wool and the adoption of lines in the luxury wool by mid-market US international clothing retailers like The Gap and Banana Republic.
Scottish manufacturers have, along with cashmere goat farmers in the Third World, been hit by the recent trade spat between the European Union and the US. The US threatened to impose punitive trade sanctions on a series of European luxury goods items, including Scottish cashmere, because of a dispute over the EU's regime in the international trade of bananas. The industry has also suffered from the crisis in the Asian economies, which took a heavy toll on the luxury goods sector, and the rise in sterling, which has made British cashmere goods expensive in Europe.
"It is easy to tar Hawick with one brush, but in Hawick there are a number of companies which specialise in producing cashmere sweaters. Despite difficult market conditions and a strong pound, we, for one, are in good health," said David Sanderson, deputy managing director of the Hawick Cashmere Company, which makes sweaters for international designers such as Calvin Klein and Celine.
He said small specialist cashmere companies had gained an edge because they have adopted the latest knitting technology. The Hawick Cashmere Company has recently expanded its factory and has just opened a shop in Geneva.
Dawson wants to use the money raised from the Pringle sale to invest in its core cashmere businesses such as Ballantyne Cashmere and Barrie Knitwear. In the statement announcing the sale, Dawson said that while "market conditions throughout the cashmere chain of businesses remain challenging", cashmere prices should increase in the second half of the year.
This is because despairing cashmere goat farmers in China and Mongolia have been slaughtering their animals for meat, which in turn has led to a squeeze on supply.
- 1 Woman 'suffocates newborn baby in plastic bag and puts it in her desk minutes after giving birth'
- 2 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
- 5 Chinese student carries disabled friend to school every day for three years
Nepal earthquake in pictures: Photos show devastation caused by 7.8 magnitude earthquake
Royal baby: Live updates as superbug closes ward at St Mary's Hospital in London where Duchess of Cambridge is due to give birth
Nepal earthquake: Rescuers forced to dig with their bare hands in search for survivors as images show damage to historic buildings
Ed Miliband and Boris Johnson in angry clash live on BBC's Andrew Marr Show
Bali Nine executions: British grandmother on death row in Indonesia Lindsay Sandiford says she 'just wants to get it over with'
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
iJobs Money & Business
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£50000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Service...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is the o...