A UK company that has supplied socks to Britain's armed forces for 80 years has lost its contract to a firm in Northern Ireland which makes its socks in China.

Sock-maker HJ Hall, based in Hinckley, Leicestershire, now says redundancies are “inevitable” after it lost the GBP5m (US$7.6m) order.

Cooneen Watts & Stone, of County Tyrone will supply 2.5m pairs to the Ministry of Defence over four years.