Magee, one of the country’s best-known clothing brands, has blamed Brexit for it having closed a distribution facility in Antrim and transferring the operation to Donegal.
The company closed the Ballymena distribution facility which it set up almost 100 years ago ahead of the original October 31 deadline for Britain to leave the EU.
Magee chairman Lynn Temple said the business was closed “due to the definite possibility of a no-deal Brexit and the punitive duties on clothing in and out of Northern Ireland, which would make its own retail outlets to wholesale customers in Ireland impossible to service”.
He said tariffs of 12% would have applied under World Trade Organisation rules in the event of a no-deal Brexit. A spokesman said Magee retained a number of staff who worked at the Ballymena facility but declined to say how many jobs were lost at the site or the number of jobs created at the new distribution facility in Donegal.
Mr Temple also blamed the uncertainties caused by Brexit for a 44% drop in profits to €159,755 at Magee Clothing Ltd last year. Magee generates most of its sales in the UK and Ireland. “Profits were down in 2018 due to Brexit-related uncertainties, additional costs arising from this and the ongoing development costs of on-line sales and start-up costs in own retailing,” said Mr Temple.
“Total revenue is approximately the same for 2018 as for 2017, although affected by exchange rates,” he said.
Magee’s online sales showed “encouraging year-on-year growth”, with sales growing in overseas markets such as the US, he said.