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Van Dal closes UK factory

Before closing, Van Dal’s UK operation was making some 15 per cent of the company’s shoes.

Various factors – including the falling value of sterling and a drop in the number of independent retailers – have been cited as reasons for closing the Van Dal factory in the English city of Norwich.

Parent company The Florida Group closed the factory at the end of August. The UK operation, which had been making women’s shoes since 1936, employed eight production personnel. Of these, three were of retirement age, two were made redundant and the remaining members of the team have been redeployed.

According to Florida Group’s managing director Tony Linford, the Norwich factory accounted for only around 15 per cent of Van Dal’s production output, with the remainder sourced from India and Italy. He stated that the company had been trying everything it could to sustain manufacturing in the UK, but a decline in the number of independent retailers and poor support for made-in-England women’s products had made this unviable.

The Florida Group now intends to focus on the direct-to-consumer market, to expand its department store concession business and boost sales through the Van Dal website. The Group has also announced plans to move to a new office and warehouse in Norwich in 2019 and expects to employ up to 40 people at this location to fulfil online orders. The company’s design and technical team will also be based in Norwich, as will a department concentrating on repairs.

Publishing Data

This article was originally published on page 4 of the October 2018 issue of SATRA Bulletin.

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