70 jobs to go as Fruit of the Loom shuts Telford depot
Up to 70 jobs will be lost as a Shropshire clothing manufacturer shuts its doors in an effort to streamline its operations.
Fruit of the Loom will close its UK office and distribution centre in Halesfield by the end of the year, with bosses saying they plan to move facilities to Europe and Africa.
The American company said the decision to shut in no way reflected the "dedication and hard work" of its employees, who will be supported with outplacement services.
Milissa Chesters, of Fruit of the Loom, said: "In an ongoing effort to optimise its supply chain, Fruit of the Loom recently announced its proposal to close its UK office and distribution centre located in Telford.
"The anticipated phase down of its operations will be completed by December 31, 2018.
"Fruit of the Loom’s administrative and distribution functions will move to other existing locations in Europe and Northern Africa under this proposal. Its employees will be supported with outplacement services."
The decision was made to streamline operations in a "highly competitive" marketplace, she said.
Keith Winter, a director of Shropshire Chamber of Commerce, said: "It's a major blow for Telford and 70 employees that this well established company has decided to centralise its production elsewhere.
"The fact that they are deciding to close at Christmas is an added blow to the employees, but we trust that Fruit of the Loom will do its best help their staff in obtaining other jobs elsewhere and give them the necessary training and time off to allow this.
"It's a surprise, because Shropshire is bucking the trend. Business is coming into Telford and Shropshire, rather than leaving. What we're finding is employers are taking on employees. The main problem seems to be finding the right skilled staff, and that's across the range of sectors."
Fruit of the Loom was founded in 1851 in Rhode Island. It is known for producing a variety of clothing, particularly underwear.