South Scotland

Hawick knitwear firm administrators cuts 119 posts

Peter Scott building
Image caption The knitwear firm has been in the town for more than 130 years

A Borders knitwear firm has gone into administration with the loss of more than 100 jobs.

Hawick-based Peter Scott & Co has been in operation for more than 130 years in the town.

Last year it signed a multi-million pound contract with a German retail group which it hoped would make it one of Europe's biggest brands.

Local MSP John Lamont said the administration move was "devastating news" for the area.

A spokeswoman for the firm confirmed that administrators had been appointed on Friday morning.

They made 119 of the company's 140-strong work force redundant and now hope to sell the business as a going concern.

Blair Nimmo, Head of Restructuring for KPMG in Scotland, said: "Despite having an excellent reputation and brand, Peter Scott & Co, like many textile businesses, has suffered from increased foreign competition.

"The more recent economic slowdown and the reduction in spending on luxury items in international markets appear to be contributory factors behind the company's financial difficulties."

Mr Lamont said he hoped to meet with the administrators as soon as possible.

"The Peter Scott name is known around the world and has been a major employer in Hawick for 130 years," he said.

"My first concern is for the staff at the firm who will be facing huge uncertainty this morning."

He said he had also contacted Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney to see what support was available.

"We need immediate help for Hawick and the textiles industry," he said.

Borders MP Michael Moore said the difficulties facing the company had been one of the region's "worst kept secrets".

'Many rumours'

"There are many issues to sort out and understand about the background to this collapse, but the first priority is to support the employees who are losing their jobs," he said.

"I have spoken to some of them this morning and they are understandably devastated.

"I will be working hard with the local agencies to ensure that everyone gets the support they need."

Hawick's honorary provost Zandra Elliot said she was also shocked by the news.

"There have been many rumours about the future of this firm for some time but we were hoping and praying that they were only rumours," she said.

"We must now do our very best to help those who are facing the loss of their jobs."

It is the second major blow to hit the Borders knitwear industry this year.

In January more than 100 jobs were lost after Innerleithen-based JJ & HB Cashmere went into administration.

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