More than 140 jobs are under threat after shoe-maker Fii decided to quit manufacturing because of cheap imports.

Northampton-based Fii want to close their last remaining plant, at Banbridge, Northern Ireland, and buy their products overseas instead.

All Banbridge’s 146 employees are expected to lose their jobs, cutting Fii’s workforce to just 40.

Consultation with unions at the facility, which has been making shoes for the last 50 years, is underway.

Fii said: ‘The board has concluded that in the current economic climate, it is no longer possible to produce footwear competitively in Banbridge.

‘Fii is unable, therefore, to avoid proposals to consider closing its manufacturing facility, in spite of the efforts of all its employees who have enabled it to survive up to now.’

Fii make Lotus ladies’ shoes and menswear brand Frank Wright as well as own label footwear, primarily for high street department stores.

The group make synthetic products but says growing demand for leather shoes is also hitting home.

Last month Fii showed they had cut final pre-tax losses from £7.9 million to £690,000, with their core Lotus brand making progress over the year.

But Frank Wright performed below expectations while private label output declined because of price competition from overseas factories.