Shoemaker ends UK production after 175 years

Shoe manufacturer and retailer Clarks is ending UK production after 175 years, bringing to an end a cull of thousands of manufacturing jobs over the past 15 years.

The company, which produces 39 million pairs of shoes every year, is to close its last UK shoe factory, at Ilminister in Somerset, as it shifts the last of its production to factories in India, China, and Romania.

It said the move, which will see the loss of 90 jobs, will ensure that the business remains financially viable, as UK production costs have continued to rise.

Clarks first began outsourcing production overseas 15 years ago, and has subsequently shed thousands of UK jobs.

The company created an industry in Somerset in the 19th century, with the Clark family building a village for employees at Street in Somerset which was seen as a model of enlightened labour practice.

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