James Cropper to close The Paper Mill Shop
By Helen Morris Thursday, 06 January 2011
Specialist paper manufacturer James Cropper has said it will close its loss-making retail division The Paper Mill Shop (TPMS), putting the jobs of the division's 100 staff at risk.
Cumbria-based Cropper's said it would close and exit all of the remaining 15 retail outlets by 31 March 2011.
No members of staff have yet been made redundant, but those affected have been put on notice that their jobs are at risk.
The closure of the company's £5.5m-turnover retail subsidiary follows "four years of losses", and it is anticipated that TPMS will incur a loss, including provision for all closure costs, of £1.2m in the current financial year.
Alun Lewis, James Cropper chief executive, said the paper crafting market was growing very strongly up until 2005. However, over the past 10 years, this market has matured.
He said: "Growth has slowed and is now in decline. There has also been a period of consolidation and the nature of the market has changed. The recession has also hit the sector.
"Reducing year-on-year sales have resulted in four years of losses, with no immediate signs of a turnaround in the profitability of TPMS."
The company's internet business, papermilldirect, will continue to trade but will become a profit centre within James Cropper Speciality Papers and will focus increasingly on a paper-based offering.
James Cropper's annual turnover in 2010 was £76m.
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