Around 300 print jobs are under threat as a Bradford-based greetings card manufacturer plans to outsource production by the end of the year.
US-owned Hallmark UK is looking to withdraw from printing operations to focus on creative design and distribution of its cards.
Under the plans, 80 per cent of production would go to the Far East, with around 20 per cent being outsourced to UK producers, possibly including some in West Yorkshire. Gift wrap production will transfer to the United States.
The potential job cuts will hit printing workers at Hallmark’s operations at Dawson Lane, Dudley Hill, where the firm also has its key distribution centre – which is unaffected by the move.
Steve Wright, Hallmark’s Bradford-based international chief executive, said: “The essence of our company is design and creativity. By outsourcing manufacturing, we are making a strategic decision to focus our UK business on what we do best, while at the same time reducing costs, ensuring that the business is best placed to grow and thrive.
“We fully recognise how hard this decision will be on those of our employees who are affected. We will make sure that we support our people throughout, working closely with them to look for every opportunity to minimise job losses and, where this is not possible, to support employees in finding new employment.
“Having been based in Bradford for more than 30 years, we’re as committed to the city as ever. While this is an extremely tough decision, our intention is to build a business that can continue to contribute positively to Bradford’s economy and its people.”
Hallmark said it will enter a detailed consultation process with employees over the plans.
Bradford Council leader Councillor David Green said: “We are extremely sorry that Hallmark is closing down its manufacturing operations at its Dawson Lane site in Bradford over the next nine months. Our sympathies are with everyone who works there.
“We understand Hallmark is still committed to providing employment in Bradford and the company has to make these changes as part of preparing its business for a strong, sustainable future. We will continue to work with Hallmark as they develop their business.
“Bradford will remain the home of Hallmark’s international division. The design and HQ functions will stay at Bingley Road, Heaton, the distribution centre will remain at the Dawson Lane base and Hallmark will still use Bradford-based manufacturing suppliers.
“We have met with Hallmark and will be working closely with the company to do everything we can to help local people who are losing their jobs access support to find alternative employment.”