North West Wales

Gelert jobs go as Porthmadog distribution centre shuts

Gelert at Porthmadog
Image caption The company employs 80 people at Porthmadog and 178 throughout the UK

An outdoor equipment company is to start talks with staff over jobs after announcing the closure of its Gwynedd distribution plant.

Gelert, which employs 80 at Porthmadog, has not said how many employees will be affected, but it is facing "very difficult decisions".

It said closure was needed after losing a contract with its largest customer.

Some staff will remain at Gelert House, its Porthmadog office, and stores in north Wales will be unaffected.

It employs 178 across the UK, and has another distribution centre at Widnes.

The company, which was set up 35 years ago in Beddgelert in the heart of Snowdonia, said it had "built up its resources to support this contract" in recent years. It has not revealed the name of the contractor.

It said the consequence of the loss of its "largest customer" that the loss of the contract meant it had to scale back its infrastructure and cost, to support the business in the immediate future.

"A detailed survey has been undertaken to look at how we may structure ourselves based on the down sized activity," it said.

A period of consultation with staff will now begin, it added.

It said that as the company grew it developed on "multiple sites" but now there was a need for "consolidation".

"Unfortunately our Porthmadog distribution location is not sufficient to service our customers' needs."

'Important employer'

Some staff will remain at the company's offices at Gelert House in Porthmadog, and retail stores in north Wales will remain unaffected.

Managing director Mike Welden said "some very difficult decisions will have to be made over the coming weeks that will impact both colleagues and friends".

"We are anticipating that any changes... will be effected by the end of the year," he added.

Dyfed Edwards, leader of Gwynedd council, said the company was an important employer in the Porthmadog area.

"We as a council will do everything we can to ensure the company's future in the area," he said.

Mr Edwards said that the challenging economic climate had had a significant effect on one of Gelert's main suppliers, who include "numerous national high street retailers".

"This in turn has affected the company's orders.

"The council is in discussions with the company and we are trying to support them during this difficult period," he added.

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