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WestPoint Stevens To Close Yarn Plant At Whitmire S C

WEST POINT, Ga., March 1 /PRNewswire/ -- WestPoint Stevens Inc.(NYSE: WXS) announced today that, in the continuation of its Eight-Point Plan of restructuring, it will close its Whitmire (S.C.) Plant, which produces yarn for the Company's greige sheeting plants. Preparations for shutting down the facility will get under way immediately to meet a projected closing date of May 1. Ultimately, some 292 Whitmire associates will be affected. Machinery from Whitmire Plant will be relocated to other WestPoint Stevens manufacturing units where yarn is produced on-site with weaving operations.The amount of yarn currently produced internally will not be reduced by the Whitmire shutdown and production will now be directed in a more cost-efficient flow. "Yarn produced at Whitmire Plant has to be hauled significant distances to reach any of our weaving facilities. This has become especially critical in the face of continuing higher fuel prices," said Senior Vice President -Manufacturing Lanny L. Bledsoe. "We are continuing to rationalize our manufacturing operations to meet the challenges of doing business in a global economy and to keep our competitive edge as the industry's low-cost producer.Because of significant modernization in the Company over the past several years, we are now able to consolidate manufacturing into the facilities that provide the most efficient workflow." Whitmire Plant is the fourth plant announced for closing by the home fashions leader in the last year under dictates of the Company's Eight-Point Plan of restructuring, which was put into motion last June. Earlier closings included Rosemary Greige Plant, Roanoke Rapids, N.C., the Union, S.C., plant of the WestPoint Stevens Liebhardt subsidiary and Seneca (S.C.) Plant.Additionally, last month the Company announced a reduction of some125 associates at its remaining three Roanoke Rapids plant, Rosemary Finishing, Fabricating and Distribution Center. "We appreciate the many fine contributions to our Company that Whitmire associates have made over the years and regret that current business factors have made this decision necessary," Mr. Bledsoe said.WestPoint Stevens can be found on the web at: http://www.westpointstevens.com . Safe Harbor Statement: Except for historical information contained herein, certain matters set forth in this press release are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements involve certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties may be attributable to important factors that include but are not limited to the following: Product margins may vary from those projected; Raw material prices may vary from those assumed; Additional reserves may be required for bad debts, returns, allowances, governmental compliance costs, or litigation;There may be changes in the performance of financial markets or fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates; Unanticipated natural disasters could havea material impact upon results of operations; There may be changes in the general economic conditions that affect customer practices or consumer spending; Competition for retail and wholesale customers, pricing and transportation of products may vary from time to time due to seasona variations or otherwise; Customer preferences for our products can be affected by competition, or general market demand for domestic or imported goods or thequantity, quality, price or delivery time of such goods; There could be an unanticipated loss of a material customer or a material license; The availability and price of raw materials could be affected by weather, disease,energy costs or other factors. The Company assumes no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.SOURCE WestPoint Stevens Inc.Web Site: http://www.westpointstevens.com Copyright 2001 PR Newswire