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290 jobs axed as Burberry closes factory

Kelly Macnamara,Press Association
Tuesday 20 January 2009 10:10 GMT

A sewing facility owned by clothing brand Burberry is to close as part a restructuring set to cost up to 290 jobs, the company announced today.

Burberry said it planned to shut the plant in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, which sews basic outerwear for the label, with the loss of up to 170 jobs.

Further UK staff whose work relates to the Rotherham factory could also lose their jobs.

Burberry, which employs 2,000 staff in the UK, said production would be consolidated at its other Yorkshire factory in Castleford, adding it had no plans to leave the UK.

In 2006 Burberry announced the closure of its factory in the Rhondda Valley in South Wales, which employed 300 people. The move prompted a celebrity-backed union campaign but the closure went ahead.

Tim Roache, regional officer of the GMB union, said: "This is very bad news for Rotherham. We will want to have a thorough discussion with Burberry on the logic of this rationalisation before we are able to move forward.

"We have been around the blocks with Burberry before as they sought to move jobs from the UK to China - we want to make sure nothing like that is happening this time."

Burberry's Rotherham facility is one of only two clothing making centres for the firm in the UK.

The company said investment would now be focused on the Castleford factory, where the label's famous trenchcoats are made.

The firm said the planned job losses would be subject to consultation.

Burberry, which employs 6,000 staff globally, said the measures were part of a global cost-cutting campaign which will see a total loss of around 540 jobs in the UK and Spain.

It said the move would save the company between £30 million and £35 million.

Burberry said the job cuts were linked to "evolving its supply chain" and were not prompted by the global economic downturn.

However, Burberry chief executive Angela Ahrendts said: "This will position us to trade through the current difficult environment and emerge even stronger when the global economy recovers."

The Rotherham sewing facility has been owned by Burberry for less than five years.

Other UK jobs affected are at the firm's Castleford and Keighley factories, neither of which will close.

The company said only 7 per cent of its sales were in the UK.

Burberry also announced today that underlying group revenues grew 9 per cent in the three months to 31 December.

It said profit would be in line with previous guidance, which was in the mid to lower half of market expectations.

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