Pittards are set to close their loss-making factory in Leeds which will affect around 300 workers. According to the Yorkshire Post, ‘the producer of leather for Timberland shoes and Adidas football boots blamed high running costs and disappointing sales for its decision to review the future of the site, which it has run since the 1970s’. The plan is to relocate production to Yeovil, UK and Ethiopia.

According to Pittards chairman S D Boyd, plans to reduce costs are progressing, but certain tough decisions may be forthcoming due to heavy losses which continue to be incurred. A pre-tax loss of £1.5 million for the first six months of 2005 was blamed on higher chemical, fuel and waste treatment costs. Boyd said that the Leeds operation had lost heavily in 2004 and also in the first six months of 2005. Now it has seen a very rough third quarter as well.

Pittards will be able to consolidate their operations between their Yeovil and Ethiopian plants and save considerable fixed costs. In August of last year, Pittards won a management contract for the largest tannery in Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Tannery Share Company, in a move that should enhance their leather business from gloves to luxury items. The cost of closure would be more than offset by the resale of the freehold factory.