Ashford is a thriving commercial centre in Kent, a vibrant expanding town with a diverse economy reaping the rewards of significant new investment.

Ashford has around 5,000 businesses employing over 46,000 people.

Key sector strengths:

  • Specialist Manufacturing – a signifcant sector with a diverse range of activities. The area has attracted production of high-value products. Home to Givaudan (formerly Quest International) a world leading company in the fragrance industry and Coty UK Manufacturing.
  • Retail – investment in the town centre’s retail environment has consoldiated this core sector, reinforced by the £65 million extension to County SquareAshford Designer Outlet alone attracts over 3 million visitors per year.
  • Wholesale – Ashford has a competitive advantage with its ‘connectivity’ - improved motorway accessibility and high-speed rail links. Brakes has been in Ashford for around 50 years distributing more than 15,000 products to approximately 150,000 customer outlets.
  • Construction – a core sector that has shown considerable expansion to support the developments of the Channel Tunnel Rail link and creation of 31,000 new homes.  Leading players are GSE Group and Directline Structure Ltd.
  • Transport and Distribution – Ashford’s transport hub is a vital asset to the area. With Eurostar and home to Hitachi’s maintenance depot, it is poised to attract further investment and employment.
  • Business Services – significant expertise across banking, finance and insurance. It is also has a strong mix of publishing, printing and security activites. Headley Brothers has been Ashford for over 125 years and Q Creative is an expanding design agency.