Loss-making shoe maker Dr Martens is to close all of its UK factories with the loss of more than 1,000 jobs after deciding to switch production to China, company chiefs revealed on Thursday.

Officials at parent R Griggs Group cited cheaper production costs in Asia for the shock announcement which will hit Dr Martens' factories in Northamptonshire, Leicestershire and Somerset.

The company has now begun a three-month consultation process with the 1,068 workers who will lose their jobs, although the company will still employ an undisclosed number of admin and design staff in the UK.

Griggs said in a statement further cost reduction measures being considered after an extensive strategic review include the consolidation of its European customers services operation into its Antwerp office.

It will also shut a number of UK retail stores with the loss of around 60 jobs, while 129 of its 209 office staff will also be axed.

R Griggs managing director David Suddens, said: "We regret very much the loss of jobs resulting from these proposed closures but we will make every effort to help staff find alternative employment.

"We will also work closely with the local authorities and other agencies. It is an especially difficult announcement to make given all the effort that our staff have put in over the past few years.

"Dr Martens will remain a brand true to its heritage and deliver footwear of the highest quality.

"This announcement will ensure that the company has the necessary flexibility to enable it to compete in the global footwear market on design, quality, speed of delivery, range of styles and price.

"The offshore strategy is the first step in moving the company and the brand forward in a positive direction."

More than 80 per cent of the five million pairs of Dr Martens boots produced each year is exported, with the US its biggest customer.