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WestPoint cuts production at 3 plants

ATLANTA -Continuing a rolling restructuring put in place last year to cut costs and build profits, WestPoint Stevens said it will permanently curtail production at three of the company's Roanoke Rapids, NC, plants, eliminating about 125 jobs.

WestPoint said it will sharply cut back production at the Rosemary Finish and Fabricating plants and at its Rosemary Distribution Center. The moves follow the earlier closing of a fourth facility here, the Rosemary greige manufacturing plant, which produced sheeting for the company.

"While this is a significant cutback at our Rosemary complex, we will continue operations at each of these three facilities," said Lanny Bledsoe, senior vp, manufacturing. "These facilities are being impacted by a companywide strategy to reduce and control inventory. And with the closing of the Rosemary greige plant, which produced a large portion of goods to be finished, fabricated and distributed from the other three units, there is simply not as much processing and handling at Roanoke Rapids as before."

The Rosemary greige plant shutdown, announced last October and completed last month, is part of an ongoing restructuring designed to cut costs and boost profits. In the past 12 months alone, more than 1,000 jobs have been eliminated at the major mill.

In a separate move, WestPoint said last month it's closing down its Seneca, SC, sheeting plant, a 102-year-old facility that produces about 9 percent of the company's total output of sheets. Picking up the slack in capacity, the company said it has put into place two new off-shore sourcing programs, which will kick in during the second half of this year.

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