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Printer praised in parent company stats

PUBLISHED: 09:00 23 October 2009 | UPDATED: 08:44 01 August 2010

BUNGAY-based book printer Clays provided one of the bright spots in results published by parent company St Ives on Monday.

The St Ives management warned of "significant challenges" ahead after tumbling into the red and cutting more than 400 jobs.

BUNGAY-based book printer Clays provided one of the bright spots in results published by parent company St Ives on Monday.

The St Ives management warned of “significant challenges” ahead after tumbling into the red and cutting more than 400 jobs.

The UK's biggest printing firm, with clients including publishers Penguin, Harper Collins and Bloomsbury, has been hit by lower demand for commercial and consumer printing in the recession, and has seen advertising move online.

However, the Clays division - which employs more than 600 full-time people and up to 100 part-time staff - has had a good year. As well as printing The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown's follow-up to The Da Vinci Code, five of the six books shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize (including Wolf Hall, the winning book by Hilary Mantel) were printed in Bungay.

This year also saw a new automated warehouse opened at Clays.

Elsewhere in St Ives, the picture was less bright, with annual pre-tax losses of £7.2m in the year to July 31 contrasting with a £30.6m profit previously. The company also suffered when its supply chain was disrupted by the collapse of books wholesaler EUK - owned by Woolworths - in the run-up to last Christmas.

“The outlook for the markets we supply remains uncertain and will continue to be impacted by both the current economic climate and structural changes that have been accelerated by the recession, such as advertising moving on to the internet,” said chief executive Patrick Martell.

The group's headquarters are in London and it has sites in Leeds, Bradford, Blackburn and Kent, as well as Bungay.

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