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Sir Philip Green in UK manufacturing push

Top Shop owner Sir Philip Greene tells press that he is committed to manufacturing 20% more clothing in the UK

Sir Philip Green UK manufacturing

Sir Philip Green wants to up his UK manufacturing base

This week Sir Philip Green told the Mail on Sunday that the Arcadia Group, which includes Top Shop and BHS, will increase its UK manufacturing in order to be less dependent on overseas manufacturers, whose costs are rising. The move will also give him more flexibility and a quicker route to market, particularly important for a fashion retailer.

Sir Philip has spoken out about his support of UK manufacturing before when he addressed an audience at British fashion Week last year. The retail giant says that he is now using 47 British clothing factories but that lack of capacity here is a big issue. Talking to the press this week he said ‘ We’ve been pushing to see what we could do to keep it nearer home. This is something we are permanently looking at, every day, every week. UK manufacturing gives us a different capability.’

Whilst it is great that Sir Philip is backing British manufacturers, talking to many of the smaller brands last week at the Best of Britannia event which showcased brands that manufacture their products in Britain, there is now such a demand by the bigger retailers to use British factories that many of the smaller companies are being pushed off the production lines to make room for the big guys. This is sad given that it is those smaller companies that have kept the factories going since the big high street retailers took their business away a few years ago.

That said, with someone as high profile as Sir Philip Green now backing British fashion manufacturing surely the government will sit up and take notice and start doing something to stop the industry’s decline?

What are your thoughts on Sir Philip Green’s UK manufacturing push? Please leave your comments below…

To see Top Shop’s Made in Britain collection click here


  1. Nic on October 18, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    20% more. what does that mean? If for example 1% of the companies clothes were made in the UK before this declaration then it will rise to just 1.2%. Any chance of some real figures?

    • Kate Hills on October 18, 2012 at 8:33 pm

      That’s all the info that Sir Philip has divulged I’m afraid. And 20% of practically nothing is still not much more than almost nothing, as you have worked out.
      Clever marketing ploy by Mr Green, or genuine interest in saving our industry? You decide…

  2. Mike on October 19, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    I think this is where the Consumer and Government come in. We have to make it clear that we will support the move if it is sustainable and for the long term. As you say there is no point in factories increasing capacity or new ones starting, if when the wind changes and cheaper labour markets open up elsewhere big retailers simply offshore again! This can be a very good thing but only if managed properly and with an understanding from all parties that we must not repeat the mistakes of the past. I would like to see a steady ramping up of capacity whereby the small high quality brands that have so dedicately supported the manufacturing base are treated with the priority they so richly deserve. At the sametime new or expanded capacity should be created to move steadily towards the mainstream. There are plenty of premium brands who charge nearly as much for their far more cheaply made clothes as the British manufacturers that could be made in the UK and still ensure the prices received by the makers are fair and sustainable. I am confident things are moving in the right direction, it just needs everyone to work together.

    • Tony on November 10, 2012 at 10:38 am

      I for one agree with this comment, we look for the cheaper option when it comes to manufacture something yet charge a premium price for something which is not of premium quality but only a brand name.I buy as much British made items as I can and there are defiantly more brands popping up made in Britain.I used to buy Lyle and Scott Polo’s Previously made in Scotland now China not cheap either! Now I buy Coeur De Lion Polo’s made in the UK and cost less than the L&S products with less effect on the Carbon foot print!! I can email the company and receive a personal email back from the Manager asking for colour ideas to increase the range variety!! I will continue to buy British to help support British jobs and Maybe once again we will get to a point where we no longer have to search the net, but can walk into our local store and choose British Made Clothes of the Peg. So come on Designer British brands make it in Britain not China!!

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