After 43 years of trading in the UK, Cherry will close its Luton office by the end of the year.
All 14 members of staff are at risk of redundancy, with the office officially closing December 31st. Three of those 14 currently work on the Computer Input Device (keyboard) side of the business.
Cherry’s German parent company ZF Electronics has set out a change of business model, and will deal direct with the UK PC trade going forwards. It’s thought that Cherry’s UK office could follow a similar model to operations in France, where there is staff working remotely but no office or warehouse facility.
It’s not clear how many layoffs there could be at this stage. There’s a possibility some staff could remain in the switches and sensors department, but without an office this would mean they would have to work remotely.
From a keyboard perspective there may be someone remaining in the UK to look after the business remotely. PCR also understands that the warehouse staff have already secured other jobs.
Cherry’s UK workers – who first heard the news last month – are now in the process of ensuring all customer orders are covered until the end of December, after which all new orders will be handled by Germany directly.
Cherry staff are now helping to clear the building of all assets and helping to handover the UK business to Germany.
Despite the office closure, Cherry is keen to express that it will continue to have a presence in the UK. Products will be traded in the normal manner but trade customers will now deal with Germany direct in the future.
ZF is currently in talks with UK PC distributors to ensure business continues as normal, with stock kept on distie shelves so the channel can sell Cherry products as usual.
ZF Electronics UK Ltd said in a statement: “December 23rd will be a sad day for ZF Electronics UK Ltd (formerly Cherry Electrical Products UK Ltd) as we close our doors on our valued loyal customers for the last time.
“Many of the staff in the UK have been with the organisation for many years, and in the Computer Input Device (Keyboard) section alone, have a combined experience of over 65 years. They now find themselves looking for new positions, which is a situation none of us would ever like to be in.
“We would like to thank our customers for their business over the last 43 years and we sincerely hope that the change of business model will in no way affect orders going forward.
“It’s not the end for Cherry products in the UK, just the end of the Cherry UK office and we wish everyone well for the future.”
Keyboard and PC accessory vendor Cherry was bought by ZF in 2008.
It’s possible that ZF could separate the Cherry keyboard brand from the rest of the ZF organisation in the future, so may run it as a separate entity.
ZF has several offices in the UK, which focus on the automotive parts business.