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Natuzzi lays off 1,726 employees in Italy

Don Hogsett, Larry Thomas -- Furniture Today, July 1, 2013

SANTERAMO IN COLLE, Italy — Leather upholstery major Natuzzi announced Monday that it had laid off 1,726 employees from its operations in Italy in a cost-cutting move as the company tries to rebound from six straight years of operating losses.

The company said 1,580 of the laid-off workers were in its factories and another 146 worked in various support services.

The layoffs leave Natuzzi with approximately 2,789 employees in Italy, according to the company's announcement.

"In recent years, the upholstered furniture industry has been heavily impacted by the effects of globalization, the strong appreciation of the euro against other major currencies and increased pricing pressure from emerging countries as a result of the lost cost of labor, unfair competition and black market labor," the company said in a statement announcing the layoffs.

The company said its biggest sales declines have been in Europe.

In conjunction with the layoffs, the company said it plans to invest 190 million euros in product development, manufacturing improvements, marketing and communications.

Natuzzi's Italian factories produce the high-end Natuzzi Italia line that is sold in the United States and throughout the world. Natuzzi's other products for the U.S. market, including the Natuzzi Editions, ItalSofa and Softaly lines, are made in China and Brazil.

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