NEW YORK — In January, Fruit of the Loom paid $46.7 million for Artex Manufacturing Co., Overland Park, Kan., a maker of licensed active apparel, but over the next several months FTL will be closing the Artex operations.
Artex, acquired from Jostens, Inc., manufactures men’s and women’s licensed apparel for all four pro sports leagues, the NCAA and Warner Bros., with distribution to the mass market. The Artex label will be continued, as will its licensing agreements and distribution, according to Mark Steinkrauss, vice president of FTL corporate relations. The product will be manufactured by Fruit of the Loom and FTL’s other licensed apparel division, Salem Sportswear Corp.
The move will affect about 800 employees altogether. Steinkrauss said some management and creative people will be offered relocation packages to Salem Sportswear. However, that offer will not be provided to most hourly workers, who comprise the bulk of the employees, he said. FTL is working with state and local authorities to place workers before the facilities close permanently, Steinkrauss said.
The move to shut down Artex’s facilities is the result of the ongoing consolidation of the licensed sports apparel business, Steinkrauss added. “There’s competitive pricing and a shakeout amongst the companies,” he said. baseball and the lockout in the NHL.”

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