More than 70 former Laura Ashley workers are set to return to work after it was announced that a new factory is to open in Newtown.

The Welsh Government has revealed that Fashion-Enter Ltd will open a new production facility in the Royal Welsh Warehouse, known locally as the Pryce Jones Building.

Inside the iconic building, where the world's first-ever mail order business was based, 77 skilled former employees of Laura Ashley will produce 20,000 garments a week for online fashion giant Asos, and PPE for luxury clothing brand Private White VC.

The move has been made possible in part because Fashion-Enter has won the substantial contract with Asos.

Fashion-Enter Ltd also has plans to increase employment and invest in local skills by establishing a textile academy in the town over the coming months.

The move provides a major boost for the town in the wake of the closure of the Laura Ashley factories this year.

Fashion-Enter Ltd chief executive Jenny Holloway said: “Many of the stitchers we have hired had loyally worked at Laura Ashley for more than 35 years. I couldn’t rest knowing they were going to lose their jobs. You also don’t find experienced stitchers of that number anywhere anymore, they are like gold dust.

“We are absolutely delighted with the support and guidance we have received from the Welsh Government. We still want to recruit a further 30 stitchers. Our order book is currently full, and the sky is the limit.”

The Welsh Government provided funding from its Economy Futures Fund to support the plans, with Fashion-Enter Ltd using the cash injection to establish its new factory in Newtown.

Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, Ken Skates, said: “Powys, and the Newtown area in particular, has a rich manufacturing history, with highly skilled and experienced individuals.

"I am delighted Fashion-Enter Ltd has seized the opportunity to put their valuable expertise to work with this important investment in Mid Wales, which will continue that rich tradition for years to come.

“I am also pleased our support will not only see former staff of Laura Ashley re-employed at a time of such economic uncertainty but that it will also enable a raft of apprentices to gain new skills and in doing so will bolster the region’s manufacturing value even further.

"Fashion-Enter Ltd’s investment in training and upskilling, and in the well-being of its workforce, is exactly the sort of behaviour we are trying to drive with our Economic Contract.”

The Pryce Jones Building is owned by the Potter Group of Welshpool, which has also invested in the building to facilitate its use by Fashion-Enter Ltd and whose project team of contractors, solicitors and surveyors were able to deliver the accommodation for occupation in a very short time frame.