Blog: M&S stamps out Lambert Howarth
Leonie Barrie | 5 October 2007
Shoe maker Lambert Howarth has been on a downward trajectory since last year when its largest customer, retailer M&S, started to reduce orders. So it’s probably not surprising that M&S’ decision to pull the plug on all future business with the footwear firm is being firmly blamed on its decision to call in the administrators.
In a statement to the Stock Exchange, Lambert Howarth accused the retailer of sourcing direct from some of the manufacturers it uses in the Far East. Behind the scenes there are also rumours of M&S demanding ruinous discounts for own-brand footwear and deciding to ditch Lambert Howarth after it failed to keep up with the rest of the market in terms of design innovation and standards.
Less well publicised, though, is the impact of the EU's anti-dumping duty on leather footwear from China and Vietnam which was imposed for a two-year period from October last year. Adding an estimated EUR1.40 (US$1.79) to the average retail price of shoes from China, the extra costs will have made it very hard to Lambert Howarth to offer competitive rates. The loss of half its jobs will be seen by the anti-dumping lobby as evidence that the measure has done little to protect the European footwear industry.
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