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25th May 2016, Belper, Derbyshire

350 lose jobs at Pretty Polly tights manufacturer Courtaulds

Within the last hour reports have come in from the BBC and the Derby Telegraph that Courtaulds in Belper, Derbyshire, which makes branded and private label clothing for retailers in the UK and internationally, ceased production today. The company, trading as CUK Clothing and Courtaulds Brands, also has a base in London.

Among the brands produced at the factory in Belper, are Pretty Polly tights. The Derbyshire clothing manufacturer which in a couple of years' time would have celebrated its centenary has fallen into administration with the loss of hundreds of jobs.

According to the Derby Telegraph, in total, 350 of the 380 people employed across the business will be made redundant. It is understood that the workforce was told the news at a staff meeting that was held at the Belper factory this afternoon, the report said.

Dilip Dattani and Patrick Ellward, of RSM Restructuring Advisory, have been appointed as joint administrators and according to RSM the main reason for the demise of Courtaulds is the impact the administration of department store chain BHS has had on the business.

BHS, which went into administration earlier this year, was a major customer of Courtaulds, which made hosiery, socks, bras, underwear, nightwear, formal and casual wear, jackets and coats at the Belper mill. Currently, attempts are being made to save BHS from liquidation, with a number of parties bidding to save the business.

Adminstrators also said that Courtaulds, which was established in 1919, had been suffering from declining sales and profitability over the recent period.

Mr Dattani said: "The administration of BHS has added to the challenge of operating within a fiercely competitive market for seasonal products.

"This has left the directors with little choice but to place the companies into administration.

"Regrettably, we have been forced to make 350 employees redundant to align with the current order book and we are assisting them with their claims to the Redundancy Payments Service.

"We are currently engaging with the key customers to assess their ongoing orders and delivery schedules."

One Courtaulds worker, who declined to be named, told the Derby Telegraph that she was "disgusted" with the way staff had been treated.

She said: "It's come as a huge shock to us all. We knew that the company had a bad year last year but this announcement has come out of nowhere.

"We were given no clue about how bad things were. We were just told to come to the meeting where we were told the news. It's devastating for us, particularly when we have families to support."

The Belper factory falls within the Mid-Derbyshire constituency of MP Pauline Latham.

According to the Derby Telegraph, she said she was "shocked" at the news and has pledged to speak to Business Secretary Sajid Javid to see if there is anything the Government can do to help the stricken company.

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