NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Warm winter hits cashmere firm Johnstons

Cashmere company Johnstons of Elgin moved into loss last year following a warm winter and "sluggishness" in key markets.

The firm made a pre-tax loss of £1.8m in 2012 compared with a £2.6m profit the year before.

Johnstons manufactures at its factories in Hawick and Elgin.

The company said the warmer winter through 2011/12 meant many customers held on to stock and did not order more during 2012.

Describing 2012 as "challenging", Johnstons said the weather and the "on-going sluggishness in the developed markets of the UK, Europe and the US" resulted in an 8.5% fall in sales.

It said customers bought higher value items so volume fell by a greater amount but there were some "positive areas of growth in Japan and with our French luxury branded customers".

And the firm which makes cashmere cloth and knitwear and accessories said its order book was now "much more healthy" than it was last year.

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