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Winston-Salem - HanesBrands is to invest US$1.5 million at its Clarksville, Arkansas sheer hosiery plant. The creation of the new hosiery finishing and packaging line at the plant, which will create more 120 new jobs, is part of the company's plan to reduce its level of offshore outsourcing.

The Clarksville plant is one of the largest hosiery knitting facilities in the world and has a workforce of approximately 450 today. In cooperation with the city of Clarksville, Johnson County and the state of Arkansas, the company decided to increase employment at the plant to add finishing and packaging of Hanes and designer hosiery sold at department stores. That work is now outsourced and conducted offshore.

Hanes said it expects to invest approximately US$1.5 million to buy and install additional machinery and to relocate and upgrade its packaging and dyeing operations.

?We are delighted to be able to add jobs at our Clarksville plant,? said Javier Chacon, Hanes senior vice president of global operations. ?It is not easy for a U.S. plant to compete with offshore competitors, but the capabilities of our plant workforce and management team in Clarksville to continuously adapt, automate and improve efficiency is a testament to the resiliency of this facility since it opened in 1988.?

According to Hanes, the plant?s competitiveness is also aided by its scale and size, safety record, lower US energy costs, and proximity to the domestic market.

?I am so proud of this plant and our employees,? Plant Manager Cathy Stalcup said. ?The hosiery business has been impacted for more than two decades by workplace trends away from formal dress to casual business attire, but our employees? commitment to flexibility, knowledge of automation and dedication to quality and safety has kept the Clarksville plant at the forefront of global competitiveness.?

Hanes manufactures the majority of its products in company-owned plants in its global supply chain. For the North American market, Hanes currently knits all of its sheer hosiery in Clarksville, splits the sewing of seams for the knit hosiery between Clarksville and a company-owned facility in El Salvador, and splits the finishing and packaging of hosiery between Clarksville for mass retailers and an offshore contractor for department stores. The expansion will result in all finishing and packaging being conducted in Clarksville. The company also operates hosiery manufacturing facilities in Europe for the European market.

A decade ago, the Clarksville plant had 480 employees, approximately the same as today. Over the past decade, the plant has adapted and added new work and capabilities, including the consolidation of the company?s product development labs for hosiery and seamless apparel. Today, the plant even makes some seamless knit bras, such as Bali Comfort Revolution seamless bras.


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