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Shoe company laying off 56 workers in Hot Springs

April 18, 2014

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) — Citing competition in the industry, a Hot Springs shoe manufacturer has announced plans to lay off more than half of its workforce at its Lake Catherine Footwear facility, leaving 56 people out of work.

Munro & Co. said Thursday that the first round of layoffs will happen in June with a second round occurring in July. The company produces the Munro American line of women’s footwear and also imports shoes, including the Jumping Jacks line of children’s shoes.

“We are one of the very few remaining domestic shoe manufacturers in America and we are committed to maintaining as large a domestic presence as is competitively feasible — but that comes with a price,” said Bruce Munro, the company’s chief executive officer. “To remain a viable company and retain our reputation for manufacturing very high-quality footwear known for its exceptional fit, we must be as cost-efficient as possible to maintain competitive pricing.”

Munro said some operations have been moved to the Dominican Republic.

Last year, the company closed its Mount Ida manufacturing facility, leaving 85 people out of work. About 120 workers remain at Munro’s manufacturing facility in Clarksville.

Jim Fram, chief executive officer of The Greater Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce, told The Sentinel-Record (http://bit.ly/1qTuNuP ) he’s hopeful the affected workers will find employment with other small manufacturers in the area.

“In today’s market, there are very, very few companies in the continental United States in the shoe, clothing, or textile manufacturing that haven’t moved offshore,” he said. “The manufacturing base here is more high-tech-oriented and requires higher skills and higher wages and that sort of thing.”


Information from: The Sentinel-Record, http://www.hotsr.com

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