Devon company seals deal to sell clothing range to Japan

A Devon clothes manufacturer has secured a new contract to export its range to Japan with the support of Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

Fortis Clothing, which was established in Axminster in 1997, has seen an increase in demand for its luxury outdoor wear from a number of international markets in the past year.

The new contract will see three Japanese fashion retailers stock its range of coats, trousers, bags and vests for three years. With the new contract in place, Fortis Clothing is expecting to double its turnover in the next 13 months.

Fortis Clothing makes clothes for the military, police force, farmers and outdoor enthusiasts across the country. It currently exports its products to Denmark and New Zealand and has an annual turnover of £500,000, employing 10 members of staff.

The contract was secured after the business used Lloyds Bank’s International Trade Portal to identify and prioritise the best overseas opportunities for its products or services.

Director, Oliver Massy-Birch, said: “The demand for British-made clothing is growing, and being able to tap into new markets in Japan is a big step in our international growth plans.

“Before we started exporting, and due to the seasonal nature of our products, we would see a spike in sales during the UK’s colder months.

“Exporting to countries experiencing winter at different times in the year has resulted in our sales book becoming more consistent year-round. This has given us the headspace to explore new markets.”

Phil Titherington, relationship manager at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “British-made products are now more competitive than ever to businesses buying in other currencies due to the weaker pound, opening up an opportunity for manufacturers to take advantage of this growing trend.

“We’re committed to helping Britain prosper by supporting ambitious businesses like Fortis Clothing looking to export, and to underline this, we’re pledging to help 5,000 first-time exporters in 2017.”