Nearly half the workforce is to be cut at the Yorkshire factory of Drummond Parkland - just a year after the plant was bought by Chargeurs.

The former Parkland Fabrics factory at Lockwood in Huddersfield was acquired in August last year. The business, which has traditionally been strong in the women's wear market, was combined with Bradford based Drummond - seen as complementary because of its presence in men's wear and bought a year earlier by Chargeurs - to create Drummond Parkland. The merged company was concentrated at the Huddersfield site.

Now, however, up to 70 employees are to be made redundant and more work is to be moved overseas as the company battles against subdued demand and the need to produce more competitively. The company insists that Chargeurs is still committed to the site, however, and says that it will continue to supply leading clothing stores.

"We are still supplying major high street retailers: men's wear, ladies' wear and corporate wear. That will continue and we hope to strengthen that business by being more competitive," said sales and marketing director Neil Roberts.

"The simple fact is that we need to be more competitive because demand for wool textiles at the moment is on a low. Added to that is the problem of competition from low cost countries and the increasing cost of raw materials. Unfortunately it has meant we have had to make this decision to reduce the workforce."

Weaving had already been moved elsewhere, leaving just dyeing and finishing - along with commercial, quality control and laboratory operations in Huddersfield. Now, some of the finishing will be moved overseas, although Mr Roberts said a finishing operation would continue at the Lockwood factory. The redundancies will reduce the workforce at the plant to 80. The company has entered into the obligatory 30-day consultation process with the workers' representatives.

By Clive Hinchliffe.