Hanesbrands to shut down Forsyth County plant; 240 workers affected

Hanesbrands said Tuesday it plans to shut down its sheer hosiery operations at the company’s Weeks plant in Winston-Salem by the end of 2010.

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Hanesbrands said Tuesday it plans to shut down its sheer-hosiery operations at the company’s Weeks plant in Winston-Salem by the end of 2010.

The closure will affect 240 employees at the plant at 401 W. Hanes Mill Road. Officials said those employees will receive severance benefits and career transition assistance. They can also apply for jobs at the company's other manufacturing and distribution operations in the Winston-Salem area.

Distribution operations at the Weeks facility will be relocated to the company’s existing Almondridge Road distribution center in Rural Hall. The approximately 80 distribution employees at Weeks will be reassigned to work at that center.

Company officials cited a trend of customers purchasing fewer sheer-hosiery products in the past decade.

“We regret the economic need to stop sheer hosiery manufacturing at the Weeks plant and the expected loss of jobs next year,” said Bruce Duncan, Hanesbrands vice president of knit-to-shape manufacturing. “As a result of lower consumer demand, our sheer hosiery production volume has dropped to a point that it is no longer feasible to run the plant. This is unfortunate because we have a great work force at the plant, which has been a high quality operation for 50 years.”

Last year, the company’s sheer hosiery segment sales fell 14 percent, and they declined another 18 percent through the first half of 2009.

The end of sheer-hosiery operations will not affect the company's research, product development and other work at the facility, officials said. Those approximately 200 employees will remain at the Weeks plant. The employee store will also remain open.

The company will sell the 850,000 square-foot facility when sheer-hosiery production ends and lease back space for the remaining corporate functions.

The Winston-Salem based firm (NYSE: HBI) previously closed facilities in Gastonia, Forest City, Rockingham and Eden.


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