Jobs to go as Londonderry shirt factory closes

Thirty four jobs are to go in Londonderry with the announcement that Northern Ireland shirtmaker Smyth & Gibson is to close its factory in the city by the end of the month.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 22nd May 2019, 1:36 pm
The firm said it has managed to place 20 of the workforce with the sportswear company O'Neill's
The firm said it has managed to place 20 of the workforce with the sportswear company O'Neill's

The company said it would be proposing a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) with creditors following an increase in production costs and a drop in retail sales.

It manufactures top quality garments for leading retail brands, with customers over the last 15 years including Marks and Spencer, JW Anderson, Fred Perry, Tiger of Sweden and Margaret Howell.

However, the company said it had lost a number of key customers in the last year and had been unable to replace the revenue lost.

“Today is a very sad day for the company,” said director Sam Morrison.

“For many years our factory in Derry-Londonderry has been one of the last remaining traditional handmade shirt makers in Britain and Ireland.

“We have taken every step we could to avoid the closure of the factory, however we are facing a volatile retail climate which has meant that our current business structure is simply no longer viable.

“We have been in close contact with our employees and have already completed a formal consultation period.

“I am pleased that we have been able to secure permanent employment for 20 of those affected with O’Neills Irish International Sports Company.

“We will continue to provide support to all employees as we approach our closure date in May.”

President of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce Brian McGrath said: “This is very sad news for the city.

“The shirt factories are a huge part of our city’s heritage and Smyth and Gibson is one of our last remaining shirt factories.

“It is welcome news that another company has offered permanent jobs to some of those affected, but there will still be a lot of families worrying this evening.

“Our thoughts go out to the employees and the owners at this time.”