Magee blames Brexit for Ballymena closure

Chairman cites possible punitive duties on clothing in no-deal scenario

The Magee shop in Dublin.

The Magee shop in Dublin.


One of the country’s best known clothing brands, Magee has blamed Brexit for it shutting down a distribution facility in Northern Ireland and transferring the operation to Donegal.

The Ballymena-based distribution facility has been operating since the 1920s. Chairman Lynn Temple said that the business shut down the distribution facility “due to the definite possibility of a no-deal Brexit and the punitive duties on clothing coming in and out of Northern Ireland, which would make its own retail outlets to wholesale customers in Ireland impossible to service”.

Mr Temple said that the wholesale customers in Ireland would have been impossible to service “due to 12 per cent World Trade Organisation (WTO) tariffs being added on to the cost price of each garment in the event of the UK/NI exiting without a deal”.

A spokesman for Magee said that the business was able to retain a number of staff who worked at the Ballymena facility but declined to state the number of jobs lost or the number of jobs created at the new distribution facility in Donegal.

Mr Temple also blamed the uncertainties caused by Brexit for a 44 per cent decrease in profits last year to €159,755 at Magee Clothing Ltd.

New accounts show that Magee Clothing Ltd recorded the profits of €159,755 last year after recording profits of €289,162 in 2017.

Magee operates principally across the UK and Ireland employs 130 people.

“Profits were down in 2018 due to Brexit-related uncertainties, additional costs arising from this and the ongoing development costs of on-line sales and start-up costs in own retailing. Total revenue is approximately the same for 2018 as for 2017, although affected by exchange rates, ” Mr Temple said.

He won on to say that 2019 has also been a difficult year with the ongoing uncertainties of Brexit affecting consumer confidence throughout the UK, Northern Ireland and the border counties.

Directors pay at the business last year totalled €258,333.