Drop in demand sees Specsavers close four manufacturing and distribution sites
SPECSAVERS has announced the temporary closure of four of its manufacturing and distribution sites in the UK.
Two sites in Kidderminster, one in Southampton and one in Kettering are affected, which between them employ 647 people.
The closure is blamed on a huge fall in demand caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
All four sites will close tomorrow [1 April] until further notice, with a small number of staff being kept on to carry out essential maintenance checks during the closure.
A statement from the company said that all of the staff were being consulted under the UK government's furlough scheme to protect jobs.
The Southampton site usually manufactures 85,000 bespoke prescription lenses a week, while in Kidderminster one of the sites produces 110,000 bespoke lenses and the other supplies 30,000 complete pairs of glasses a week.
The Kettering site is a distribution centre for frames, lenses cases and other accessories.
'We are grateful that the government job retention scheme allows us to look after our colleagues at this difficult time and protect their jobs for the future,' said Specsavers director of manufacturing and distribution Adrian Tune.
'We look forward to welcoming them back to work as soon as possible.'
Specsavers has also suspended all routine eye and hearing tests, although urgent or essential care is being provided.
Staff from its La Villiaze headquarters are working from home, while the Market Street store is running a daily emergency triage service.