Clarks to close Kendal shoe centre with 53 jobs at risk

Shoe company Clarks plans to close a distribution centre with 53 jobs at risk.

It has had a presence in Kendal, Cumbria, since 1981 after taking over 19th Century company K Shoes.

Operations are set to move to Clarks’ distribution centres at Street in Somerset and Venlo in the Netherlands by the end of the year.

Tim Farron, the MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, said it was “very sad news” and workers would “be supported”.

A Clarks spokesman said: “Kendal has been, and always will be, of great importance to Clarks, having played a significant role in our history.

“We have a strong duty of care to our employees and will ensure they are fully supported during this time.

“Clarks is committed to leaving a positive legacy in Kendal and will encourage the site to be used to create opportunities which will benefit the area.”

Mr Farron said he would work with union representatives to support the workers and “help them find new jobs”, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Former worker Ian Kell, who lives in sight of the old K warehouse, said the closure “brings to an end the unbroken tradition of shoe trading in the area going back to 1845”.

At its peak, K Shoes had factories around Cumbria and 235 shops.

Shoe manufacturing ended in Kendal in 2003.