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23rd July 2009, Hawick

Demand for accessories up as Johnstons MD gets honour

James Sugden, Managing Director of leading Scottish knitwear and accessories manufacturer Johnstons of Elgin’s Hawick mill, has been honoured by Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen with an Honorary Doctorate in recognition of his services to the textiles industry.

In an interview with the Hawick News, Mr Sugden said that the current state of the business had improved after three very difficult quarters during which they had made 20 redundancies to combat the fall in demand for knitwear. However, he said demand for accessories has increased significantly and the installation of new Shima Seiki Wholegarment accessory machines was now beginning to make good the deficit. Mr Sugden however, cautioned that the recession was far from over.

Mr Sugden, who was educated at Sedbergh School in Cumbria and Downing College, Cambridge, where he obtained an MA in Economics, spent 21 years in Elgin before moving to a new position in Hawick in May.

Dedicating the accolade to the hard-working staff at Eastfield Mills and at the company's base in Elgin Mr Sugden told the Hawick News: "I have been helped on my way in textiles by many, many people both here in Hawick and in Elgin and, after 40 years in the trade, I am very grateful for this recognition."

Johnstons has a workforce of 600, 200 of whom are based in Hawick.

Source: Hawick News

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