123 Year Old Johnson Tiles Factory to Close Down Causing 110 Job Losses

123 Year Old Johnson Tiles Factory to Close Down Causing 110 Job Losses in Stoke On Trent’s Once Thriving Ceramics and Pottery Industries

In the heart of one of Stoke on Trent’s 5 Towns, Tunstall, lies Johnson-Tiles. The designer, manufacturer and supplier of high-end ceramic and porcelain tile.

Established in 1901 Johnson Tiles are one of the UK’s most experienced and leading manufacturers of ceramic tiles. Renowned both at home and internationally for their award-winning quality and emphasis on environmental sustainability Johnson Tiles product range spans all aspects of public and private life.

Johnson tiles have been used on both small and large contracts for housing projects, schools, universities, hotels, hospitals, industrial developments and the leisure industry both across the UK and abroad. “Their award-winning tile designs are backed up by industry leading logistics and services to help you not only make the right choice but to also at every step along your journey.” one tile outlet is quoted as saying recently.

Johnson Tiles is set to shut its Stoke-on-Trent factory with the loss of more than 100 jobs. The shock closure news follows the announcement of a management buyout deal with parent company Norcros.

Full details have not yet been disclosed but a consultation with 105+ workers at the Tunstall plant in Harewood Street is now underway. Johnson Tiles will instead become a standalone business with all production outsourced.

Johnson Tiles was setup in 1901 to design, manufacture and supply high-quality ceramic and porcelain wall and floor tiles to the World.

The UK management team – made up of managing director Stephen Dixon, commercial director Rich Kelsall and procurement director Jason Bridges – will assume full control from the end of May subject to legal protocol.

In a statement released today Johnson Tiles said the deal had the ‘full support of both parties, offering the best way to protect the long-term success of the British heritage brand through challenging market conditions and the next stage of growth’.

Mr Dixon said: ”We are, of course, making this announcement with very mixed feelings, acutely aware of what this means for our colleagues and what it says about UK manufacturing as a whole. It is with a heavy heart that we are looking to stop production at the Stoke plant but the cost of making tiles in this country – despite ongoing investment – has become increasingly unsustainable.”

He added: “We have a great sourcing business and, together with our strong design and customer service capabilities, we are well placed for the future. This deal secures Johnson Tiles position as a leading UK designer and supplier of tiles, as well as ensuring we remain a significant employer in the Staffordshire region.”

Thomas Willcocks, CEO of Johnson Tiles’ parent firm Norcros plc, said: “We are pleased for Stephen and the management team and believe this agreement is in the best interests of staff, customers and shareholders of both Johnson Tiles and Norcros. We are committed to supporting the business as it makes this transition and look forward to partnering on opportunities in the bathroom and kitchen markets.”

Johnson Tiles had initially been acquired by Norcros in 1971, becoming one of its core brands. But there have been waves of redundancies over the last decade.

In its accounts for the year to March 31 2023, the firm reported revenues of £35.3 million, which represented 8 per cent of Norcros group revenue, and operating profits of £500,000. However, Norcros said that the company had ‘absorbed cash in each of the last three years’.

It is understood that following the sale, the company will continue to operate from its Tunstall site, which will remain under Norcros Group ownership.

TilersForums.com’s founder, Dan, is said to feel sad about this news as he was born and bread in Stoke on Trent and has very strong ties to the ceramics and pottery industries as family members still work for both areas.

Chat about this news on the forum: Johnson Tiles Closure; Discussion

Author: Dan