Byline: Scott Malone

NEW YORK — Burlington Industries Inc. is merging its Casual Wear and Performance Wear divisions into one unit.
The new division, to be called Burlington North American Fabrics, will be headed by Douglas McGregor, president and chief operating officer. It’s the first organizational change the Greensboro, N.C.-based mill has made since filing for bankruptcy last month.
Harry Barto, who joined the company in March as president of the Performance Wear division, will be stepping down by the end of the month, according to a Burlington spokeswoman. Barto will be taking a post at his former employer, Rexam PLC, a maker of silicone-coated films and papers, she added.
Dutch Leonard plans to retire from his post as president of the Casual Wear division by the end of the year, after a 37-year career in the textile industry, as reported.
While other job cuts are a possible result of the merger, the spokeswoman said that no decisions had yet been made.
When Burlington filed for Chapter 11 on Nov. 15, chairman and chief executive officer George Henderson said the firm would be restructuring itself, but that he had not yet determined what changes would be made.
One major shift the company announced at the time of its filing was the creation of Burlington Worldwide Ltd., a Hong Kong-based subsidiary that will act as a fabric contractor selling fabrics made by Asian mills to apparel vendors who produce clothing in that region.
Burlington formed its Casual Wear and Performance Wear divisions in 1999, uniting the woolen and synthetic division into the Performance unit, as an effort to better market fabrics.
In the fiscal year ended Sept. 29, both divisions lost money. Performance Wear reported a $2.8 million loss before taxes, while Casual Wear had a $12.9 million deficit. Performance Wear’s sales slipped 19.4 percent, to $473.4 million, while Casual Wear’s rose 6.7 percent, to $257.5 million.

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