Londonderry shirt factory closes with the loss of 34 jobs

The Smyth and Gibson shirt-making factory in Londonderry has announced it is to close with the loss of 34 jobs.

DUP MLA Gary Middleton said he was saddened at the news.

“I am saddened to be advised that Smyth & Gibson is to close resulting in 34 employees being made redundant. It is however welcome that 20 of those affected will be employed with O’Neills Sports Company,” he said.

The company announced its closure this morning.

A spokesman said in a statement released by the company: “Smyth & Gibson has today announced that its factory in Derry-Londonderry is to close, resulting in 34 employees being made redundant.

“The shirt making company will be proposing a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) with creditors following an increase in production costs and a drop in retail sales.

“The company manufactures top quality garments for leading retail brands. Its customers over the last 15 years have included Marks and Spencer, JW Anderson, Fred Perry, Tiger of Sweden and Margaret Howell.

“However, the company lost a number of key customers in the last year and this revenue has not been replaced.”

Sam Morrison, director of Smyth & Gibson, said: “Today is a very sad day for the company. 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.”