Textile finance jobs uncertain

Pippa Wicks defended the decision to cut 1,125 jobs in a restructuring of Claremont, which Courtaulds bought in October, blaming poor Claremont management.

About half the planned losses will fall in the North East, while eight factories nationwide face closure. A further 95 jobs are expected to be cut at Claremont’s head offices in Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire.

Wicks denied the cuts were a reflection of growing turmoil in a textile sector hit by the strong pound and a downturn in consumer demand. ‘Claremont had been very poorly managed, but we have different accounting rules to apply. We bought Claremont because it has a very strong position supplying Marks & Spencer.’

She refused to reveal how many people were employed in Claremont’s finance departments but stressed there would be a consultation period of between 30 to 90 days before any jobs were axed.

Steve Prior, a partner at Robson Rhodes in Manchester, said the cuts reflected the textile industry’s dependence on Marks & Spencer, which announced a 23% fall in half-year pre-profits last month.

Accountants at Claremont’s head office are unlikely to be kept on in the UK, Prior said, but they could transfer to Courtaulds’ overseas factories.

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