Northern Ireland clothing manufacturer and leading supplier to Marks & Spencer, Desmond & Sons, on Thursday confirmed speculation it plans to close two of its factories with the loss of 315 jobs.

The firm blamed the closure of its plants in Derry and Dungiven, which produce trousers and jeans for men and women, on continuing margin pressures.

It employs almost 2,000 people and closed its factory in Dungannon last September with the loss of 106 jobs. It has two plants in Londonderry and a warehouse and headquarters in Drumahoe and a further 2,750 workers at factories in the Middle East and Far East.

"The consumer's desire for enhanced products at keener prices increasingly dictates that garments have to be made abroad and this price factor has led to a situation where both the Springtown and Dungiven factories have recently been sustaining operating losses," it said in a statement.