NEW YORK -- Woolrich Inc. said last week it is closing three of its nine plants, resulting in layoffs of more than 400 employees.

The affected plants are apparel-making facilities at Avis and Blanchard, Pa., and at Broomfield, Colo. The layoffs will encompass about 340 manufacturing jobs and an additional 75 to 100 management, administrative and support staff positions, said H. Varnell Moore, Woolrich's president and chief executive officer.

Moore said the manufacturing layoffs will begin in mid-July; production is slated to end at those sites by mid-August. Moore added that layoffs of management, administrative and support staff began Wednesday. The plants produce rugged outerwear and sportswear for men and women.

"For several years, the restructuring and downsizing needs in those operations have existed, and senior management has decided these actions are now necessary for future growth," said Moore, in a telephone interview from the company's Woolrich, Pa., headquarters. He said the company will step up its Far East and Mexican sourcing for those items. Moore said Woolrich will provide career transitional services for affected employees, including transitional pay based upon years of service.

Woolrich will continue to operate its six other U.S. plants: three in the Woolrich, Pa., area, one in Alliance, Neb., and two in central Georgia, near Macon. In addition, Woolrich's Hong Kong subsidiary, Woolkong, which handles Pacific Rim sourcing; Woolcan, which conducts Canadian marketing and distribution, and its El Paso, Tex., sales and marketing office, which handles all Mexican activities, will continue as before, Moore said.

The remaining Woolrich work force will total more than 2,000.

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