Leica Camera Ltd has released an official statement (see below) confirming the closure of its UK office in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire.
Though there is no official word on job losses, Amateur Photographer (AP) understands that five positions will be axed at Milton Keynes.
Established in Milton Keynes in 1990, Leica Camera Ltd employs 23 staff – currently split between the Milton Keynes office, the Leica Store and the firm’s ‘field-based personnel’.
A spokeswoman told AP that the firm is currently in consultation with employees affected by the changes and could not comment for legal reasons until this process is completed.
She said the move was part of a ‘restructure and reorganisation’ of Leica Camera Ltd, seen as ‘best for the operation of the company’.
Leica has confirmed that its product service and support department will move to the firm’s store in London, as part of an expansion of the Mayfair shop which opened last year.
Asked whether a move to plush Mayfair may mean photographers paying more to have their Leica cameras repaired, the spokeswoman replied: ‘We are still in discussion about how these processes are going to work.’
Leica is set to expand its Mayfair base and has recently taken over the first floor of a building opposite the shop in Bruton Place.
The firm is set to close its Milton Keynes warehouse and move to ‘direct European distribution’.
This means cameras will be delivered directly from Europe to UK dealers as well as the Mayfair store.
The statement, issued by Leica Camera Ltd today, reads as follows:
Leica Camera Ltd statement regarding expansion of Leica Mayfair facilities and changes to Milton Keynes office
10 June 2010: Leica Camera Ltd has today made the following announcement regarding changes to the company:
Expansion of Leica Mayfair facilities
The company has taken the first floor of 25 Bruton Place, directly opposite the Leica Store. This is to enable on-site Leica camera sensor cleaning and other product support. This new facility is due to be operative by mid summer 2010.
Milton Keynes Service Department and product technical support
The company is proposing to restructure how it provides these services and is currently concluding an internal restructure consultation programme. Subject to completion of the consultation programme, the company is proposing to cease offering these services from Milton Keynes. The company is proposing to create three new Client Care positions to be located at Bruton Place, supporting all UK Leica owners.
Milton Keynes Warehouse
In line with many other international brands, Leica Camera Ltd is to move to European direct distribution. Ordering, billing and stock enquiries will continue via the UK Sales Desk. There will be a phased transition between closing the Milton Keynes warehouse and transferring the distribution. The Milton Keynes warehouse is due to close in mid summer.
Milton Keynes Finance, Sales Desk and Administration
These departments are due to vacate our Davy Avenue, Milton Keynes offices by mid summer, moving to a new Milton Keynes location. The registered office address of Leica Camera Ltd will switch to our Bruton Place Leica facility.