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Fruit of the Loom Closes Ky. Plant

April 15, 1998 GMT

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) _ Fruit of the Loom will close a Kentucky textile and apparel plant, laying off more than 800 workers.

The announcement Wednesday was the latest in a series of job cuts by the maker of underwear, T-shirts and active wear under the Fruit of the Loom, BVD, Gitano and Munsingwear names.

Last November, the company disclosed plans to lay off about 2,900 U.S. workers, or 19 percent of its domestic work force, and shutter a Louisiana manufacturing plant as it shifted production to cheaper overseas plants. It earlier had slashed about 4,200 jobs.


In the latest announcement, the company said it would shutter by midyear its Campbellsville, Ky., plant, which it has operated since 1952. It employs 812 workers there.

Spokeswoman Pamela Blankenship said the move was part of the company’s ``efforts to lower its cost structure and streamline operations.″

About 100 employees will be offered immediate transfers to the company’s plant in Jamestown, Ky. Seventy-five new jobs are expected to open at Jamestown in the coming months, the company said in a statement.

The plant’s work force exceeded 3,000 in the early 1990s but has been decimated by cutbacks during the past year.

Last August, the Chicago-based company announced that just under 1,500 workers were being laid off at the plant. In November, it slashed an additional 220 jobs and 410 more in January.

Meanwhile, UCO Textiles NV of Belgium said it agreed to buy a denim manufacturing plant in Rockingham, N.C., from Fruit of the Loom for $36 million.

The plant has the capacity to produce 13.5 million yards of denim fabric a year, UCO Textiles said.

UCO Textiles said the sale includes the plant’s inventory. In addition, UCO Fabrics has agreed to supply denim to Fruit of the Loom, the company said.