Corby factory to shut with the loss of 115 jobs
It was with great sadness that I heard at the beginning of the week that Aquascutum were on the brink of administration. So it was even more upsetting to hear yesterday that the first thing that the administrators have done is to close down the Aquascutum factory in Corby which had been in operation for over a century. All workers at the UK clothing factory have been made redundant with immediate effect.
In a statement released by the administrators, they declared the Aquascutum factory “not viable to continue to trade due to loss-making operations and a lack of funding”. However, they are attempting to find a buyer for the Aquascutum brand, and it is believed that the rights to the name may be sold off to a Far Eastern buyer.
This all seems a little bit short sighted to me. If these administrators could see the emails that I get every week from people looking for British clothing manufacturers they would have realised that the Corby factory was possibly one of the most valuable assets that Aquascutum had. The 115 workers at this UK factory would’ve had decades of experience in cutting, sewing and finishing between them, and these sorts of skills are more sought after than ever in 2012. This tweet from Private White V.C. in the wake of the news yesterday says it all: ‘Aquascutum lays off 110 staff whilst @PrivateWhiteVC recruits a dozen more machinists. Could easily hire another 50 with some govt support’.
I hope that there is someone out there who is able to take on the Aquascutum factory and re-employ some of the staff; Perhaps several brands should get together and share the overheads of running the plant, or Sir Philip Green could put his money where his mouth is and get himself a little UK manufacturing unit. Even Mary Portas may be interested seeing as her Kinky Knickers are flying out of the door. Time may be up for Aquascutum, but British manufacturing is alive and kicking!
Update 24th April 2012: It was announced in the press today that James Eden, owner of Private White V.C, was to put in a bid to buy Aquascutum and to re-open the Corby factory. Having built the Private White brand, which has shops in London and Japan, on being 100% British-made, I think that Mr Eden would be the perfect new owner for Aquascutum. Watch this space for more info.