More than 250 jobs are at risk as the future of Sealy UK's Aspatria plant hangs in the balance.

The impact of Covid-19, declining sales and "uncertainties" surrounding some of its major customers have prompted parent company Silentnight Group to launch a consultation into the possible closure of the factory.

It is Aspatria’s major employer, with a 267-strong staff but has been forced to furlough 262 workers due to the coronavirus outbreak.

At its peak, the 160,000 sq ft factory made around 3,500 mattresses a week.

But Adrian Fawcett, chairman of Silentnight Group, said following an in-depth review, it was proposing the Aspatria's facility closure, in a move he added was "regrettable".

He said: "The UK bed market has been challenging for a number of years and the profitability of the Aspatria site has progressively declined.

"The impact of the current coronavirus pandemic, coupled with uncertainties regarding some of the site’s major customers, has substantially exacerbated this situation."

It is not known how long the consultation will last but, he said, the firm’s priority was to support all affected employees.

Mr Fawcett added: "The company will be entering into a consultation period with employee and trade union representatives of the staff employed at the site."

Set up in the USA in 1906, the company began in the UK in 1974, following the acquisition by the Silentnight Group of bedding and furniture company M Hackney & Co, in Aspatria.

Sealy UK operates under licence in Britain.

Last July, Sealy UK said it was celebrating after a buoyant six months of trading.

The Aspatria factory won prestigious contracts with the new Saga Discovery cruise ship and London's The Standard hotel and The Stratford complex.

Over 1,000 specially designed mattresses were installed on board the Discovery cruise ship.

US hotel chain The Standard opened its first UK hotel, with its bedrooms kitted out with 280 mattresses from Sealy, built to a new bespoke specification.

It followed Sealy’s supply of 218 mattresses and 245 complete beds to The Stratford within the new Manhattan Loft Gardens development, made up of 145-bedroom hotel and 248 rental loft apartments.