Burberry taking time to think through Leeds facility

Luxury fashion brand Burberry said it is 'taking a moment to think through' its plans for a flagship manufacturing and weaving facility in Leeds.

Wednesday, 19th April 2017, 9:26 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:57 pm
Models on the catwalk during the Burberry Autumn/Winter 2017 London Fashion Week show at Makers House , London. Photo credit: Victoria Jones/PA Wire
Models on the catwalk during the Burberry Autumn/Winter 2017 London Fashion Week show at Makers House , London. Photo credit: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

The firm announced in late 2015 that it would move its Castleford and Keighley staff to Leeds’ South Bank. Work on the facility was due to begin last year, set to be completed in 2019.

However, Julie Brown, chief finance officer of Burberry, told The Yorkshire Post that while the commitment “remains” Burberry was thinking through its plans.

She said: “The first thing to say is that we’re very committed to Yorkshire. I was recently seeing our manufacturing facilities in Yorkshire - both the weaving and the trenchcoat manufacture in Castleford. We’re very committed to manufacturing in Yorkshire.

“What we’re doing is we’re just taking a moment to think through our plans because this is a very important project for Burberry and very important that we get it right.”

No start date on the facility at Temple Works was given by the luxury fashion brand.

Ms Brown added: “The commitment remains, we’re just taking some time to think about what’s right for Burberry. Clearly the Brexit decision and some uncertainty about tariffs etc. does create some uncertainties for all producers in the UK at the moment. We’re looking forward to that being resolved.”

The new facility will replace two existing manufacturing and weaving centres in Castleford and Cross Hills. The plan is for all the teams from Castleford and Cross Hills to move to the new site, bringing all employees together under one roof. The company employs 700 staff in Castleford and around 70 in Cross Hills. The company, which planned an intial investment of £50m, said it would employ more than 1,000 people at the site.

Burberry cheered ongoing “exceptional” trading in the UK as it continued to receive a boost from the Brexit-hit pound.

The group saw global comparable store sales lift 2 per cent in its final quarter to March 31, while total retail revenues over the second half jumped 19 per cent to £1.3bn thanks to the weakness of sterling since the Brexit vote.

The UK was once again its star performer for sales thanks to booming tourist trade as shoppers from the US and Asia have flocked to Britain to take advantage of the plunging pound to snap up luxury goods at a knockdown price.