Edinburgh Woollen Mill set to move HQ to England

One of Scotland's best-known tweed and knitwear firms has announced it will move its headquarters to a new premises south of the Border.

The Edinburgh Woollen Mill is moving its HQ to England. Picture JP
The Edinburgh Woollen Mill is moving its HQ to England. Picture JP

Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM) has confirmed plans to relocate from Langholm in Dumfries and Galloway to Carlisle, 23 miles away.

A statement from EWM Group said its existing base, which is home to 190 workers, is unsuitable for a “modern, fast-growing, national retail development”.

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The firm said Carlisle’s location on the main railway line between London and Glasgow meant it would be “more easily accessible for our partners”.

It is not thought any jobs will be lost as a result of the move, which is due to take place at the end of July.

The firm said around half of its staff at Langholm live in Carlisle and commute daily, but it is looking into providing transport during a transition period for any Scottish-based workers travelling to the new office in England.

EWM also said there were plans to turn the original building into a heritage centre.

A spokesman said: “The decision to move to Carlisle was not taken lightly or ­quickly, but EWM Group is expanding and our current premises in Langholm are not capable of supporting a modern, fast-growing, national retail development.”

The spokesman added that the move to a new, custom-built office in Carlisle would allow EWM to create more local jobs and attract “talented” employees from across the UK.

He added: “Langholm has played a critical role in our company’s history and heritage and we will be retaining our headquarters building there.

“We have ambitions to turn the building into a heritage centre, which celebrates the role that both Edinburgh Woollen Mill and textiles has played, and continues to play, in Scotland.”

The announcement has been greeted with dismay by local politicians.

Conservative MP for Dumfries-shire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale, David Mundell, said he was “very disappointed” by the decision.

He said EWM had a duty to recognise the “loyalty and support” of the Langholm community over many years.

And Colin Smyth, Labour MSP for South of Scotland, tweeted: “Few people will be surprised at news Edinburgh Woollen Mill plan to move from their historic home in Langholm to Carlisle. Existing staff may well be able to commute, but this is still a huge loss of employment from a community which has haemorrhaged jobs for many years.”

But the spokesman insisted the company’s commitment to Scotland remains strong.

He said: “Our Scottish heritage is at the centre of everything that we do and we want EWM Group to represent Britain proudly across the world.”

Edinburgh Woollen Mill was founded in 1946 as Langholm Dyeing and Finishing Company. The inaugural retail store opened in Edinburgh’s Randolph Place in 1970, with the first English outlet arriving in Carlisle two years later.

The firm is today owned by British billionaire Philip Day.