Elizabeth Shaw hopes to extend its range by outsourcing
its factory and outsource the production of its brands.
Bill Williams, Elizabeth Shaw's marketing director, blamed tough competition, the cost of updating an aging factory and new regulations for the decision.
The confectioner has decided to close its factory in Bristol, instead favouring to outsource manufacturing to other specialist chocolate producers.
Williams told ConfectioneryNews.com it was likely that all production for the company would be outsourced. He said it would allow the company to extend its brand range.
"We will now have the freedom to extend our range by using the same or other outside facilities rather than using our own resource which has been relatively restricting in the past," said Williams.
Management said that the 105 year-old factory had become increasingly out of date, making for inefficient production.
The company's managing director, Malachy McReynolds, noted that the facilities were no longer sufficiently flexible for modern manufacturing.
"The future of our brands remains our number one priority and faced with a situation where we might not be able to maintain product quality competitively in the future," McReynolds said.
McReynolds said the decision to close the factory was "very difficult and sad". The closure means the majority of the 160 staff will lose their jobs. Production is expected to end in the autumn.
"Outsourcing production of the company's brands is now vital if the business is to continue to compete effectively in increasingly competitive market conditions," McReynolds said.
Elizabeth Shaw currently manufactures and markets a number of products in the UK including the Famous Names line of liqueur chocolates.