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Russell Revamps Organization Builds Plant In Honduras

Russell Revamps Organization, Builds Plant In HondurasRussell Corp., Atlanta, has reorganized its operations, separating its athletic and activewear businesses into two distinct groups, and combining within each group manufacturing, distribution and some administrative functions with sales and marketing.Previously, the company operated Domestic Activewear and International Activewear segments, and included within the domestic segment the Russell Athletic, Mass Retail and Artwear/Careerwear distribution channels.This alignment creates two groups of businesses that need two different approaches for their operations, said Jack Ward, chairman and CEO. The Athletic Group will be able to better pursue the most cost-effective means of developing products and sales plans for their brands, and the Activewear Group can use company-owned manufacturing facilities to generate the economies of scale they need to compete in their markets.

Russell Corp.s JERZEES® brand recently introduced SpotShield stain repellent technology for use in fleece activewear (See K/A News, TW, this issue).Led by CEO Jon Letzler, also Russells president and COO, the Athletic Group comprises all branded athletic products including Russell Athletic®, Moving Comfort®, Spalding®, Bike®, Womens apparel and Mossy Oak® Apparel. As product lines expand, the group will source more of its products from other manufacturers, including the Activewear Group.The Activewear Group is headed by Julio Barea, who reports to Letzler. It serves the mass retail market with its JERZEES® brand, and the artwear channel with its JERZEES, Cross Creek®, Bike and Three Rivers brands. It is continuing internal manufacturing operations and also will form strategic partnerships for cost-effective production. Russell is investing $50 million to build a new plant in Honduras for Activewear. Scheduled to begin production in early 2005 and be fully operational in 2006, the plant will employ 700 people, producing jersey and fleece fabrics for apparel that will be made up at four company sewing plants in Honduras. December 2003