Shoe brand Van Dal to close Norwich factory
Florida Group has decided to close its ladies’ shoe factory in Norwich, which produced footwear for its Van Dal brand, and move production to Italy and India.
With its roots tracing back to 1936, Van Dal is currently the only remaining shoemaker in Norwich but rising costs and a drop in wholesale trade have made it impossible for the facility to remain cost competitive.
The factory will close at the end of the month and result in eight redundancies, reported the Eastern Daily Press. All Van Dal production will move to India and Italy, where 85% of the brand’s shoes are already made.
However, Norwich will continue to be an important part of the brand, with a new office and warehouse in the city in the pipeline for next year.
Tony Linford, managing director of Florida Group, told the Easter Daily Press: “Our traditional retail business has disappeared so that has been building up over time, and then combined with Brexit and the devaluation of the pound which hit our costs, those two factors have pushed us over the edge.”
The independent company lost around 60% of its customers over the past eight years. “Our traditional business model of manufacturer selling to independent retailer which sells to the end consumer has broken down and the industry has become more vertical,” he said.
Instead of trying to revive its wholesale business, the company is now focusing on direct-to-consumer commerce and has recently opened its first shop in Cardiff.
It has also opened an e-commerce platform, which is “growing very rapidly”, according to Linford.
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