Can Clark Get Its Shoes In Step?

The shoemaker is cutting costs and remaking its image

In mid-June, the C&J Clark Ltd. shoe factory in the tiny town of Shepton Mallet, Somerset, threw open its doors to the public to celebrate its 50th anniversary. About 500 locals came for a guided tour, cookies, and coffee. A nice touch, in keeping with the 171-year-old company's cozy community ways. Unfortunately, just two weeks later, Clark announced the shuttering of the Shepton plant and two others. "We were absolutely shocked," says Terrence S. O'Connor, a company employee for 40 years and union official at Shepton.

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