LONDON — Hanesbrands Inc. has begun consultations with employee work councils in Europe on an “integration and competitiveness project” for its DB Apparel (DBA) business that could affect around 600 employees in Europe.
DB Apparel encompasses a number of lingerie brands, among them Playtex, DIM, Wonderbra and Lovable.
The proposed changes would see Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Hanesbrands consolidate DB Apparel’s European commercial operations into three business units, which are headquartered in France, Germany and Italy. It would also involve the firm strengthening its production and logistics centers in Autun, France, and Rheine/Schongau, Germany. Functions such as the DBA supply chain, information technology, finance and human resources would join Hanesbrands’ global operations.
The plan is intended to combat what Hanesbrands called “structural challenges,” among them weak macroeconomic conditions, cost inflation exacerbated by the effect of a weakened euro and a tough competitive environment, where “global marketers are getting larger to take advantage of fragmented markets, such as Europe,” the firm said.
While around 600 manager and technical positions could be affected, the firm said mitigation efforts — such as job add-backs, voluntary plans and employee placements with outsourced service providers — could mean that “significantly fewer” employees would face job eliminations. The company added that it “strongly commits to comply with legal obligations” regarding potential job losses.
Gerald W. Evans Jr., Hanesbrands’ chief operating officer, noted that while DB Apparel’s brands are “strong,” “intimate apparel and underwear are slow-growth categories in mature markets such as Europe and the United States.”
He added that “significant changes need to be made to safeguard competitiveness and the long-term viability of the business.”
Evans commented that the plan would “create significant opportunities to increase market share and even potentially acquire other companies that would create DBA jobs in the long run.”
Hanesbrands acquired DBA from Sun Capital Partners Inc. in August 2014. The two firms had originally both been under the ownership of Sara Lee Corp., before Sun Capital acquired DBA in 2006 and Hanesbrands was spun off as an independent public company.