Hanesbrands to shut down five N.C. facilities, lay off 1,400 workers

Posted September 24, 2008 12:29 p.m. EDT
Updated September 24, 2008 4:39 p.m. EDT

— Hanesbrands will close two plants in Eden and a warehouse in Rockingham as part of layoffs involving 8,100 workers.

The Winston-Salem based firm (NYSE: HBI) also is closing plants in Gastonia and Forest City.

The cuts will affect more than 800 North Carolina workers by the end of this year and another 600 in 2009.

More than 50,000 people currently work for Hanesbrands, which makes Hanes and Champion apparel. Most of the layoffs and plant closings are overseas. They affect seven plants in the U.S. and Central America.

Cutbacks in the textile industry have hammered North Carolina over the past decade. According to the National Textile Association, some 1,000 workers were laid off in 2007, some 2,000 in 2006 and more than 1,500 in 2005.

The closing of a massive Pillowtex plant in Kannapolis triggered the loss of more than 4,000 jobs – the largest one-time layoff in the state’s history.

According to a Duke University study, the state’s textile industry lost 170,000 textile and apparel jobs between 1997 and 2002.

“We are making significant progress in expanding our supply chain production capability in Asia and consolidating into fewer, larger facilities located in lower-cost countries around the world,” Hanesbrands Chief Executive Officer Richard Noll said in a statement.

“Globalizing our supply chain, and eventually balancing production between Asia and the Western Hemisphere, is a critical plank in our strategic efforts to reduce costs, improve product flow and increase our competitiveness.”

Hanes said the layoffs and closings will cost the company $76 million.

The cutbacks in North Carolina immediately affect 470 workers in Forest City and 140 in Gastonia.

The Rockingham warehouse, where 15 people work, is to close by the end of November.

Production at a yarn plant in Eden, which employs 120 people, is to stop by the end of the year.

A knit-fabric textile plant in Eden, where 600 people work, will close by the end of next summer, the company added.