Byline: Rosemary Feitelberg

NEW YORK — Jockey International on Tuesday announced plans to close its hosiery mill this summer, laying off 300 employees at the site.
The layoffs go into effect in August, and as of Sept. 1, Jockey sheers will be manufactured and marketed by the Sara Lee Corp. Jockey has inked a 30-month licensing deal with Sara Lee to produce and market Jockey sheers in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, according to Mark Hogan, vice president of marketing and advertising for Jockey.
Jockey will ship orders through the end of August and Sara Lee will start shipping Jockey goods in the following months, said Karen Bartoletti, vice president of marketing for Sara Lee Hosiery. In the “short term,” Sara Lee has no plans to change the product mix, she added.
“We will live with the business for a while and work before we make any appropriate judgments,” Bartoletti said.
This marks the second closing this week in the legwear business. Ridgeview confirmed Monday it was closing its branded and designer sheer hosiery business, which resulted in more than 50 people being fired. Ridgeview produced licensed Ellen Tracy, Evan-Picone and Dolce Calze legwear.
Having been in the sheer business since 1988, Jockey decided to pursue a licensing deal because of the category’s ailing performance at retail.
“As the market has declined in the past few years, it became necessary for us to reduce costs and seek an alternative way to do business,” Hogan said. “This is also about us doing what we do best, which is underwear.”
Edward C. Emma, president and chief operating officer of Jockey International, said, “This agreement will help Jockey to continue to offer high quality, competitively priced sheer hosiery products while also allowing Jockey to focus all of our resources on our core competency, which is underwear.”