London - Marks & Spencer is considering returning part of its hosiery production to the UK once more. The British department store is said to be in talks to help revive Northern Irish hosiery supplier Adria, which shut down over a decade ago. < /p>
M&S is believed to be in early discussion with the hosiery supplier and is currently trailing its automated machinery to produce tights, according to the Telegraph. If the deal goes through, the move would see Marks & Spencer becoming Adria’s biggest customer. The hosiery manufacturer was originally founded in 1961 by the late Rolf Noskwith. The pioneering stockings manufacturer was M&S largest hosiery supplier for a number of years but was sold off to another apparel manufacturer in 2004 which moved its production to Turkey, Bangladesh and later on Cambodia.
Noskwith’s son Adrian is paving the way for Adria’s UK resurrection and has hired a team of former M&S and Adria employees to open a new facility in Strabane, Northern Ireland, near where the former production plant was located. M&S CEO Steve Rowe is said to be interested in returning part of M&S’s manufacturing chain back to the UK, in order to better respond to customer demand. Other fashion retailers, such as Asos and New Look, are also keen to produce more products in the UK in order to cut down on lead times but are all facing challenges concerning recruiting skilled workers and maintaining ethical standards.