40 jobs at risk as Signet Armorlite focuses on closure of Gloucester base

Up to 40 staff at specialist lens-maker Signet Armorlite are about to enter consultation as plans are made to close its Gloucester site.

One of the businesses that has helped bring into focus world-wide Gloucester’s abilities as a specialist maker of spectacle lenses has announced plans to close its operations in the city.

Signet Armorlite, which produces lenses under the world-famous Kodak brand since 1993, has confirmed it plans to close it Quedgeley base, a move which also threatens jobs.

Owned by French-based international ophthalmic optics company Essilor since 2010, Signet Armorlite is a well-established specialist in its field – along with fellow Gloucester firm Norville.

According to the business ‘market conditions’ have forced it to ‘review the viability of our sites in the UK and, where possible, eliminate any duplication of services’.

‘Therefore, we find ourselves in the unfortunate position of considering to close the Quedgeley site in Gloucester and with it around 40 positions are at risk of redundancy,’ said a statement from the business.

Brian Deegan, managing director EMN UK Ltd (Essilor Group), which has a UK base at Thornbury in Bristol, said: ‘We will be offering full and ongoing support to all impacted staff throughout the consultation process, including applications for available positions at other sites within the wider group.

‘This is set against a backdrop of an already challenged market, as consumer trends have seen high street footfall decline in favour of online shopping. Independent opticians have not been immune to this.

‘It is a regrettable decision, but it was one that as a company we had no alternative to make if we are to continue to be commercially viable.’

Last year Norville Group, which has been making lenses in Gloucester for 150 years, was rescued from administration in a £2.4 million deal.

Essilor UK’s last filed accounts show a loss for the financial year of £237,000 – down from a profit of £4,517,000 the previous year (2018).

Turnover for 2019 was also down – from £70.2m to £58 million.

By Andrew Merrell

Follow SoGlos on LinkedIn and sign-up to the weekly SoGlos business newsletter for the very latest Gloucestershire business news stories.

© SoGlos
Monday 08 March 2021

More news you might like...

ZeroAvia, due to touch down in Gloucestershire to develop the world’s first market-ready 19-seat hydrogen-electric powered aircraft.

Hydrogen-electric powered aircraft firm backed by Bill Gates moves to Gloucestershire

Backed by Bill Gates, millions of pounds of government money, and GFirst LEP, a firm developing the world’s first commercial...

Cheltenham’s newest boutique cocktail bar, Imperial Haus, has revealed its launch date.

New 'enchanting' boutique bar is opening in Cheltenham

Imperial Haus is Cheltenham’s newest venue set in the former home of Boogie Lounge and will open in May 2021.

M5 Motorhome Hire is relocating from Tewkesbury to a bigger site in Cheltenham after having to expand to cope with demand following the pandemic.

How the staycation boom has shaped one of Gloucestershire's business

Gloucestershire-based company M5 Motorhome Hire saw a huge increase in bookings last year and 2021 is set to be even busier,...

Montagu Academy in Gloucester has been delivering high-level PE and sport to children across the county for eight years.

How Montagu Academy is helping keep children active during lockdown

Montagu Academy, a Gloucester-based sports coaching company, has been keeping kids of all abilities active, as well as being...

Doorstep Meals is a new Cotswolds cook-at-home meal kit delivery service.

A new Cotswolds meal kit delivery service has been launched

A new meal kit delivery service, with all the ingredients sourced from suppliers in the Cotswolds, has been launched by Doorstep...

Unmissable highlights