Manufacturing costs – cheap as China? Part 3

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Although not readily associated with industrial production, British luxury brands are poised to play an important role in the revival of British manufacturing.

With the British luxury industry on course to grow 8.5 per cent this year and a multitude of factors combining to make manufacturing abroad less attractive, many brands have turned their attention back to the UK.

Speaking to The Times, Mark Cropper, Chairman of James Cropper, a high quality paper maker, said; “It is happening faster than the government thinks. It is becoming more economic to employ people in the UK again.”

“What would really help would be if the renminbi were to be allowed to float freely. Chinese manufacturers have an advantage because the value of their currency is being artificially depressed.”

Onshoring Fashion

Mulberry is another company looking to increase its UK operations and recently invested in its manufacturing facilities in Somerset. Despite the current economic climate the company has created 60 new jobs in the past six months and has seen the average age of its workers drop dramatically. Savior Beds is another British business with plans to expand its local manufacturing capacity.

As mentioned in previous posts, Cheap as China parts 1 and 2, the UK is beginning to look like an increasingly attractive option for businesses looking to localise their manufacturing. Companies such as GSK have already begun investing in UK operations and more are likely to follow.

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