New jobs hope after East Lancashire firms’ major changes
3:30pm Thursday 16th January 2014 in North West
CHANGES to the running of two major companies have brought hopes of new jobs to East Lancashire.
The owners of Accrington’s Express Gifts home shopping hub have boosted its credit sales finance to support future expansion.
And Carphone Warehouse millionaire David Ross has bought Altham’s Simon Jersey corporate and work wear supplier from its Swedish owners with a promise of new investment and growth.
Home shopping and education group Findel has secured an extended funding deal for its Express Gifts division based at Church Bridge House, Henry Street, Accrington.
The company employs 1,100 at the site, rising to 2,000 annually between August and Christmas. It has seen turnover rise by 18 per cent to £263million a year since major management changes at Findel in 2010.
It will now have a £130m securitisation facility, £25m more than previously, to increase its provision of customer credit to ‘support future growth in the division, which is one of the largest direct mail order businesses in the UK’.
Findel finance director Tim Kowalski said: “Express Gifts, our largest business, has delivered strong year-on-year growth. This increase in the securitisation facility provides a more appropriate source of funding for Express Gifts to continue this growth.”
Express Gifts managing director Philip Maudsley said: "This allows us to build on the success of the last three years and continue the future progression of the business.”
Meanwhile, Mr Ross announced yesterday he had bought the 40-year-old Simon Jersey and its linked Pionér brand from Kwintet group. It employs 160 staff at Syke Side Drive, Altham, and 20 in the field.
He said: "This is a great business which has been unable to develop its full potential in recent years.
“It has a strong reputation for innovative garment design. We believe we can improve the performance of the business further by building on this reputation.”
Revealing ‘ambitious plans for the future’, the firm’s marketing director Charlie Pogson said: “Simon Jersey currently employs 180 people, nearly 90 per cent based at our Accrington site.
“The new owners are committed to investing in and growing the organisation, which can only be a positive thing for the local economy.”
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