DUPONT TO CLOSE APPAREL MANUFACTURING UNIT BY APRIL
Byline: Stuart Chirls
NEW YORK — DuPont has ended its 16-month-old venture in apparel manufacturing.
WWD has learned that DuPont has pulled the plug on Initiatives Inc., the fiber giant’s wholly owned apparel design and manufacturing subsidiary.
In a Jan. 9 internal memo, Initiatives president Don Linsenmann announced the parent company’s decision to shutter the operation by April 30. The closing affects about 80 full-time employees at offices in New York and Chadds Ford, Pa., and at Initiatives’ warehouse in San Antonio.
DuPont launched Initiatives in September 1994 as a maker of private label ready-to-wear and sportswear separates for specialty and department store retailers, with the manufacturing contracted to several factories in Mexico under the North American Free Trade Agreement. There was decidedly mixed reaction at the time from both fabric and apparel manufacturers, some of whom feared DuPont would wind up being a competitor rather than a supplier.
A DuPont spokesman confirmed the closing Wednesday. “Initiatives didn’t create enough of a return to make it financially viable,” he said.
DuPont, whose fiber volume was $6.2 billion as of 1994, initially said it was investing about $10 million in the apparel operation. The spokesman couldn’t say what DuPont’s total investment had been, though sources said it was higher than the original figure.
The memo indicated Initiatives would fulfill remaining orders and DuPont was actively seeking a buyer for the unit. The spokesman said Initiatives had already shipped some finished products, but could not say to what retailers. He added that Linsenmann, a 12-year veteran at DuPont, would likely return to the parent in a management post.