Handbags and luggage drive UK manufacturing

Handbags and luggage drive UK manufacturing

Production of handbags and luggage boosted UK manufacturing to £9.2bn last year, according to new research by Santander.

The improving economy and confidence in consumer spending led to the manufacture of luggage, handbags and saddlery becoming the fastest-growing UK manufacturing sector, up 54% year-on-year and worth £205m - a seven-year high for the sector.

This is according to analysis of the latest official PRODCOM Report from the ONS UK by Santander Corporate and Commercial.

Charles Garfit, head of manufacturing at Santander Corporate and 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 manufacture of motor vehicles continues to be the largest UK manufacturing sector in terms of production, producing £36bn in 2014.

Other key sectors include the manufacture of air and spacecraft related machinery (£21bn); the manufacture of pharmaceutical preparations (£10bn); and the operations of dairies and cheese making (£8bn).

According to the analysis, the production of food-related products accounted for £21bn at the end of 2014.

Alongside dairy and cheese production, other key areas include processing and preserving of meat (£7bn) and manufacture of bread, pastry, goods and cakes (£6bn) were three of the 10 largest manufacturing sectors in the UK.

“Santander is also increasingly working with and supporting manufacturers of high-end food and drink products, usually with a strongly ‘British’ branding as these sorts of products are becoming increasingly well received domestically and also around the world,” adds Garfit.