First 4 consolidates, shuts Preston site

By Jo Francis, Friday 01 March 2019

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First 4 has announced the closure of its Preston mailing site due to falling demand and “extremely difficult market conditions” in direct mail.

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Preston site: "difficult but necessary" decision to close. Image: Google Maps

The firm acquired the business, formerly Vitesse Mailing Preston, in the summer of 2016 and subsequently renamed it First 4 Direct Mail.

Managing director David Nestor said the decision had been made “with great sadness and regret”.

“It’s been a difficult but necessary decision,” he said. “It was in distress when we took it over, but we genuinely believed we could breathe new life into the business.”

First 4 Direct Mail had specialised in high-volume polywrapping, and Nestor said that “unprecedented change in the direct mail market” had resulted in a substantial fall in volumes, and weak trading at the operation since last autumn.

The site has ceased trading with immediate effect, and is expected to be placed into liquidation with insolvency practitioner Campbell Crossley & Davis, with the loss of 33 jobs. Nestor said staff have been paid in full.

Employees were informed about the decision today (1 March).

Nestor also emphasised that First 4 Print Finishing’s core Blackburn site was unaffected, and it would be able to take on the work that had been produced at Preston.

An envelope enclosing line and Riso ComColor digital press at Preston, which were owned by Blackburn, will be relocated there along with two of Preston’s four polywrapping lines.  

The Blackburn business has sales of around £3.5m and 80 employees.

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