NEW YORK — Sara Lee Corp. said it will cut about 350 jobs in its Winston-Salem, N.C.-based branded apparel division, which includes Champion, Bali, Playtex, L’eggs, Hanes, Wonderbra, Barely There and Just My Size.

The moves come as the Chicago-based consumer products giant prepares to spin off its apparel division to focus on food, beverages and household products. The firm plans for the spin-off to occur between March and July 2006. The firm also plans to sell its European apparel business.

Sara Lee said it is offering a “voluntary separation program” to its managerial, professional and support staff employees in its Winston-Salem offices. After the reductions are complete in July, Sara Lee said it expects to employ about 5,250 people in the area.

“In the highly competitive world in which we operate, we must take steps to streamline our existing structure to deliver a more economical cost structure and at the same time add those functions required to become a publicly held company,” said Lee Chaden, chief executive officer of Sara Lee branded apparel, in a statement.

Last week, the firm reported that its branded apparel operating profit fell 36.4 percent to $90 million in its third quarter ended April 2. Sales in this division were down 2.4 percent to $1.52 billion. The company saw decreases in units sold in nearly all its branded apparel divisions, including hosiery, knitwear and intimate apparel. Socks unit sales were up slightly. Another bright spot was the C9 by Champion line sold only at Target.

This story first appeared in the May 4, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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