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Sara Lee Announces Consolidations

Citing changing production requirements and preparedness for apparel trade restrictions that are scheduled to be removed Jan. 1, 2005, Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Sara Lee Branded Apparel has announced it will consolidate US, Honduran, Mexican and Puerto Rican production of intimates, sportswear and underwear; as well as professional and administrative staff functions in its headquarters. The consolidations, expected to be completed by the end of this year, will result in the closing of five plants and the elimination of 3,825 jobs in Honduras, Mexico and Puerto Rico; 200 at its plant in Asheboro, N.C.; and 150 in Winston-Salem.

Production at the affected plants will be absorbed into other company operations. Two sportswear facilities in Mexico will become distribution centers. The company will sell buildings it owns in Asheboro and Mexico City.

In Asheboro, Sara Lee will continue production of thermal fabrics, and elastic dyeing and printing at one facility it will retain; and it will consolidate knitting equipment and processes for men's and boys underwear T-shirts into other operations. "These changes better align our resources to execute strategies for future growth in a quota-free global market," said Lee A. Chaden, CEO. "Whenever decisions affect employees positions, they are made with careful consideration. It is imperative, however, that we deploy resources to maintain and enhance our long-term competitive position."

July 2004