Two hundred year old clothing company to cease trading

A company which has been trading for more than two centuries has announced it is to close by the end of the year.

Exeter based Wippell & Co has made the announcement after a difficult two years of trading.

Around 45 jobs will be lost when the company, which makes clerical clothing and academic gowns, shuts for good.

The business had been hit particularly hard by the Covid pandemic and the decision to shelve graduation ceremonies across the country.

The company started life as a grocery but evolved into a specialist outfitter and supplied furniture for churches.

Robin Richardson, chairman and director, said: “It’s an incredibly sad day and I want to pay tribute to all my colleagues. We will be supporting everyone through this difficult period.

“The company is committed to providing fair redundancy packages and giving everyone many months’ notice ahead of closure. Most people, including incredibly skilled embroiderers, seamstresses and cutters, have worked here for decades, with many approaching retirement age. I want to personally acknowledge everyone’s dedication and craftsmanship.”

He added: “We are continuing to trade, completing and taking orders in the coming months, including all commitments to servicing and fulfilling all graduations for 2023 and I would reassure customers that our high standards will be maintained throughout this time.”

Wippell sells its products across the world and has worked with TV companies and productions such as Coronation Street and Emmerdale.

The company has also created costumes for Madame Tussauds and theatre shows including the long-running musical Sister Act.

Christine Morrish, director, said: “The company has an incredible heritage, skilful employees and loyal customers.

“Sadly, times have changed. It has been a tough few years because of the pandemic, and is without doubt a much more competitive market, with lower quality machine-made garments from overseas now dominating.

“Over the coming months, we will continue to support employees and remain fully committed to our customers, continuing to receive and fulfil orders, during this time.”


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