Upmarket goods are the big success story in UK manufacturing

New research suggests that the production of luggage, handbags and saddlery boosted the UK’s manufacturing industry by £250million last year.

While some may make the mistake of considering this a “niche” sector, the study by Santander found that in actual fact it is growing faster than any other area of manufacturing. According to the latest estimates, profits are up more than 50 per cent year-on-year.

The success of these businesses seems to be driven by a growing demand for high-end products.

The Handbag Clinic, based in the North East, is one of an increasing number of companies who are riding the crest of the wave.

The firm recently expanded the size of its workshop to cope with the mounting number of enquiries.

Ben Staerck, managing director, said: “We needed increased workspace to make sure we have the capacity to deal with a soaring demand for our specialist services.”

Charles Garfit, Head of Manufacturing, Santander Corporate & Commercial, said: “We believe that a significant part of the growth in UK production is down to a focus on luxury products, as evidenced by the growth in handbags and luggage as well as the success of a number of upmarket UK car marques”

Overall the car industry continues to be the single largest sector and is worth £36billion annually according to the latest estimates.

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