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Regal consolidates; shutters IN facility

North Vernon, IN — Citing the already bad and rapidly worsening retail environment, Regal Rugs Inc. announced it would soon cease manufacturing here and consolidate its operations.

Regal is a subsidiary of Springs Industries, which acquired the rug manufacturer from Readicut International PLC in January 1999. The manufacturer of high-end and accent rugs for the department and specialty store retail channels has been in operation since 1939 and in its North Vernon facility since the 1950s.

All of Regal's manufacturing will be consolidated into the company's facility in Ellijay, GA, as will some of the support operations, while certain administrative and customer service positions will be moved to Springs' Lancaster, SC-based operations center. Design, merchandising and sales employees will continue to work out of North Vernon.

The consolidation, which will result in the layoff of approximately 180 employees, will begin on Dec. 10 and is scheduled to be completed in March 2002, said Andy Smithson, president of Regal Rugs.

"While we regret the disruption this announcement will have on our associates and their families, it is a necessary step we must take to remain competitive in an increasingly difficult retail environment," Smithson said.

According to Ted Matthews, vp of corporate communications, the closure of the facility will not impact on Regal customers in terms of delivery times or commitments and the consolidation would be made as seamlessly as possible. He added that the Fort Mill, SC-based Springs will also "do everything we can to work with local employers to identify opportunities" for workers who lose their jobs.

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