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Springs To Invest In Katherine Plant, Close Other Plants

Springs Industries Inc., Fort Mill, S.C., will invest $10 million in Katherine Plant, Chester, S.C., to add new technology and relocate weaving equipment from the Fort Lawn, S.C.-based Elliott and Frances plants, which will be closed over the next three months. About 250 employees who weave bedding fabrics will be affected. Molly Laster, manager, corporate communications, said there will be opportunities to transfer some affected employees as closing dates approach. Springs also will reduce fabric finishing and sewing capacity at Grace Complex, Lancaster, S.C., eliminating 450 jobs. The company expects normal attrition and turnover to make more jobs available there.

About 3,000 associates will remain at the Chester and Lancaster facilities after the closings and capacity reduction have been completed.

Springs also will close a towel weaving plant in Griffin, Ga., and a towel finishing plant in Hartwell, Ga., consolidating weaving in a remaining plant in Hartwell and finishing in a remaining plant in Griffin. These closings will eliminate about 580 jobs.

The investment and closings are a response to the recent removal of quotas and downward import price pressures. They also are part of Springs strategy to balance domestic manufacturing with overseas sourcing and streamline domestic operations to make them more efficient and flexible. Laster said upgrading its remaining US facilities allows Springs to fulfill orders more quickly and offer a greater array of fabrics, using finer threads for higher-quality cloth.

April 2005