A top UK clothing retailer, has announced that its pre-tax profits are down 89% for the year ending April 2008, fuelling speculation that it may have to shed jobs throughout the organisation.
The High Street retailer employs nearly 7000 people in its 488 stores in this country, as well as many thousands more in its vast empire abroad, but this kind of loss in revenue will mean the end for most of its UK workers in favour of cheap labour in India.
Originally known as J Hepworth Tailors in Leeds, the company acquired Kendalls Rainwear in 1981, and branched out into womenswear, then mens and children's clothing, before turning its hand to homewares in 1985.
Operating to the maxim that 'overpricing means quality', they flourished, and, by 1994, had 300 stores in 16 countries worldwide. Things have now slowed down, however, and, with the current Credit Crunch finally biting business in this country, cash-concious consumers have started to shop elsewhere and, crucially, more frugally, and the end could be in sight for Hepworths.
Company spokesman John Ripov said:
"We've overcharged the public for too long. Whatever NEXT?"