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Divatex branches out from just sourcing

Divatex has departed from its all-sourcing formula with the opening of a 200,000-square-foot cut-and- sew and warehouse operation in the south. It's also expanding abroad, with the opening of its first office in China.

The move into U.S. production supports Divatex's strategy of becoming a supplier of in-line, high-volume programs. The company built its business largely as a supplier of in-and-out promotional goods, particularly sheets. The domestic cut-and-sew unit will be used to meet rapid-replenishment orders and cut the costs involved when quick turn-around orders sometimes ship by air freight.

"Because we know the import business so well, we also understand what kind of support it needs," said president Avi Gross. "It's about flexibility, service and being in-stock every day."

The highly automated production facility, located in Greenville, S.C., is capable of pumping out up to 1.5 million sheet sets annually. Stitching machinery can swap from one type of fabric and stitching style to another in less than 30 minutes, Gross said.

"The morning shift can work on 400-count sheets with an attached hem and the evening shift can do sateens with a self hem," he said.

Added Shay Zamit, vice president of merchandising, "The equipment can meet any requirements — deep pockets, every type of hem possible."

Divatex also expects to use the facility to address this year's expected shortfalls in quota and escalation in some quota pricing.

Gross said, "We believe that in the U.S. you can get the type of workers that deal with this type of sophisticated machinery, while keeping costs down."

The warehousing portion of the new plant is EDI-capable and electronically controlled. The new building is located roughly 15 miles from Divatex's existing warehouse on the outskirts of Greenville.

The new production facility gets underway as Divatex is preparing to open its fourth international sourcing office. The new Shanghai office rounds out a network of Divatex quality-control locations.

The others are in Turkey, Portugal, India and Israel.

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