BURLINGTON KNIT OPERATION BEING CUT TO 5-DAY WEEK

Byline: Michael McNamara

NEW YORK — Burlington Industries’ Knitted Fabrics division, which has been a problem area for the company, said Thursday that it will reduce the work schedule at its Denton, N.C., plant and consolidate its sales and marketing offices here.
The production schedule at Denton, which will be reduced to five days a week from seven, will take effect the weekend of Dec. 3 and 4, said Roger Miller, the division’s vice president of manufacturing. He said the elimination of weekend shifts will mean about a 20 percent reduction in employment at the facility, as roughly 170 of the plant’s 875 jobs will be eliminated. The division has four other plants in North Carolina, and these will not be affected by the move, he said.
Miller added that employees who are impacted by the cutback “will be entitled to a range of benefits and will be given the first consideration for jobs at other Burlington plants in the area.”
As for its sales and marketing offices, Burlington said it will move employees in its management, marketing and product development areas to its Greensboro headquarters by Jan. 1. The merchandising and sales staffs will remain in New York, said Chuck Cole, president of the knitted fabrics division. It is not immediately known how many of the approximately 65 employees will make the move.
Announcement of the cutback came on the heels of a 30.6 percent drop in operating earnings for Burlington’s apparel fabrics business in the fourth quarter ended Oct. 1, to $26.8 million from $38.6 million. The company said continuing problems in its knitted fabrics operation contributed to the drop in earnings, which, for the year, fell 23.9 percent to $151.5 million from $199.2 million.
Burlington, which reported apparel fabric sales of $1.33 billion, doesn’t break out figures by divisions. However, various industry analysts and observers estimate the company does between $125 million and $150 million in knitted fabrics.

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