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Bassett closing hometown plant

Retail Editor 2, Staff Staff -- Furniture Today, March 26, 2007

Bassett Furniture Inds. announced Monday that it will close its sprawling wood furniture plant here, saying the factory is yet another victim to increasing demand for imports.

Bassett said the shutdown of the 323,000-square-foot facility will begin in the next 60 to 90 days. Approximately 280 employees — 15% of the company's workforce — will lose their jobs.

"Closing this plant has been the most difficult decision we have ever had to make," said Rob Spilman Jr., president and CEO. "We regret the effect this will have on the many fine employees who work at our largest hometown plant."

Spilman said the closing is "a needed step in our transformation from being primarily a domestic furniture manufacturing company to a retailer, manufacturer and marketer of branded home furnishings."

He said the majority of the products made at the plant will be sourced from overseas suppliers. Some slower-selling items will be discontinued, and a few custom bedroom products will continue to be produced domestically at its wood furniture plant in Martinsville, Va.

Following the closing, Bassett's remaining domestic factories will be in Martinsville and Newton, N.C. The company also will continue to operate a fiberboard plant in its hometown.

In connection with the closing, the company said it will record a pre-tax charge of $3 million to $3.6 million in the first quarter, which ended Feb. 24.

The company, which plans to release first-quarter earnings on March 29, said sales for the quarter were 16% to 18% below the same period last year.

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