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Iconic Huddersfield cloth brand celebrates growing international presence

Dugdale Bros & Co’s expansion into international markets has contributed to 2017 being its most successful year to date

Heritage cloth brand Dugdale Bros & Co is celebrating its most successful year to date, following significant expansion into fast-growing international markets and the appointment of key personnel.

Through its 122-year history, the company has become renowned within the textiles world for supplying fine worsted fabrics to Savile Row tailors and iconic fashion houses alike. And it is precisely this international reach that was pivotal in making 2017 the most successful year on record for the brand.

With a fast-growing presence in overseas markets – including China, South Korea, Japan and Australia, to name just a few – the company reported a 22 per cent uplift in turnover from exports alone, compared to the previous 12 months.

Significant expansion was achieved within the Scandinavian and Asian Pacific markets in particular, thanks to new distribution arrangements and the addition of two full-time export team members. 2017 also marked Dugdale Bros’ first year in partnership with its new USA agent – a key distributor in America.

Domestic growth has followed a similar trajectory, with overall company turnover up 14 per cent on the previous year. The recent appointment of sales managers Amit Karia and Jack Rowan has been key to this steady expansion, enabling the brand to build its customer base and enhance its visibility in the competitive UK market – particularly as the popularity of modern made-to-measure tailoring increases.

2017 saw the launch of three new cloth collections, bringing Dugdale Bros’ total number of ranges up to 23 – alongside the array of trimmings and linings also supplied by the brand. Amongst these new releases was the Royal Classic Vantage series, which incorporated archival patterns from the iconic 1957 Royal Classic collection, in celebration of its 60-year anniversary.

Based in Huddersfield since its establishment in 1896, the brand was taken on by chairman Robert Charnock in 2001 and is the last independently-owned cloth merchant remaining in the centre of the town.

Robert said: “2017 was intended to be a year of consolidation for us, following significant internal restructuring initiated by our managing director . However, increased activity with a number of notable luxury brands has helped to bolster our figures during this period.

“Dugdale Bros is undoubtedly a company with a significant legacy behind it, which we are dedicated to preserving as we take the business forward. And it is precisely this balance between celebrating our heritage – both in relation to the brand and our town – and strategically targeting new overseas markets, that has enabled us to flourish.”

Building on the previous year’s successes, 2018 will see the cloth brand launching five new lightweight collections – specifically designed with the burgeoning Asian markets in mind. In addition, core lines will be refreshed with the introduction of new designs, colours and patterns.

Robert added: “The expansion of our collections will further boost our market presence, and we’re expecting to see an additional 12% growth this year. The Dugdale Bros brand has truly come of age, and we’re looking forward to more people recognising the value of cloth that has been proudly made in Huddersfield.”

With headquarters on Northumberland Street in Huddersfield, Dugdale Bros & Co. has another office in Mayfair and supplies its cloths to tailors and distributors throughout the world.

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