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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Jeans maker Levi Strauss & Co. said Monday it is closing six U.S. plants and eliminating 3,300 jobs as it moves away from the business of actually making the clothes it sells.

The cuts amount to about 20 percent of its work force.

The company, whose sales have been sagging, has said it wants to have others manufacture its clothing while it concentrates more on marketing the product.

"There is no question that we must move away from owned-and-operated plants in the U.S. to remain competitive in our industry," said Philip Marineau, chief executive.

In June, the company will close plants in San Francisco and Blue Ridge, Ga.; in August, plants in Brownsville and San Benito, Texas; and in October, plants in Powell, Tenn., and El Paso, Texas.

The privately held company said it will continue to operate a sewing plant and a finishing center in San Antonio, though it will cut about 300 jobs there, too. Levi Strauss employs 16,600 people overall.

A poor sales start this year put Levi's on track for its sixth consecutive year of declining revenue.

The San Francisco-based company's sales totaled $935.3 million for the three months ended Feb. 24, a 6 percent decline from a year earlier.

Copyright 2002 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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