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Levi Strauss & Co plans to close Little Rock facility

Mar '06
Denim maker Levi Strauss & Co has announced its intent to close its distribution center in Little Rock, Ark., before the end of 2006. The closure would eliminate the jobs of approx. 340 workers, more than a quarter of whom may be eligible for early retirement under company policy.

Phil Marineau, CEO, said, "Our distribution network is over capacity and has been for some time. We believe it is imperative that we close the Little Rock facility and consolidate the work in our remaining distribution centers.”

"Our employees in Little Rock have done a tremendous job," Marineau continued.

"This closure is not a reflection on their good work or their contribution to the company. Our focus now will be on helping to ease the transition process for our employees and the local community. We intend to provide comprehensive separation packages and to work with government and community leaders to identify support services for affected workers."

In the mid-1990s, LS&CO built three large technologically advanced distribution centers in the United States and began to close smaller distribution centers as capacity increased in its distribution network. The Little Rock facility would be the last of the smaller sites to close. It distributes Dockers men's product to wholesale customers around the country.

UNITE HERE, formerly the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees, represents many of the employees at the Little Rock distribution center. Union leadership has been briefed on the company's intent to close the facility. The company hopes to begin negotiations with the union soon so that separation packages, transition support services and other benefits can be determined.

The company has established a Community Transition Fund to provide grants to local organizations and community service programs that address the needs of dislocated workers.

Levi Strauss & Co is one of the world's largest brand-name apparel marketers with 2005 sales of $4.1 billion. The company manufactures and markets branded jeans and casual sportswear under the Levi's, Dockers and Levi Strauss Signature brands.

Levi Strauss & Co

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