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Some of 840 Ashley jobs coming to Mississippi

By DENNIS SEID

Ashley Furniture Industries is laying off 840 workers at its manufacturing plant in Colton, California, and shifting production to plants in North Carolina, Mississippi and Wisconsin.

Already one of the largest private employers in Northeast Mississippi, Ashley employs some 4,000 workers at its plants in Ecru, Ripley and Verona.

The company says the majority of production at its California site east of Los Angeles is going to the other U.S. plants to create more efficiency.

It says closing the Colton plants on Oct. 25 will help keep the company competitive.

The company said it gave employees 60 days’ notice and complied with federal regulations governing layoffs.

According to Furniture Today, Ashley said that “rebalancing our manufacturing mix strengthens production capability and cost structure and will help ensure Ashley’s continued ability to compete effectively long-term in the global marketplace from a U.S. base.”

The bedding and upholstery production from the facility will be absorbed by  other manufacturing facilities.

The world’s largest upholstered furniture manufacturing plant is in Ecru, where Ashley opened in 1994. Last October, the company announced a $6 million, 175,00o-square-foot addition to the Ecru plant, its 13th expansion. It covers nearly 3 million square feet.

Ashley acquired the 275,000-square-foot facility in Verona that was once  home to Morgan Fabrics. It produces mattresses and sleeper sofa.

Ashley is a huge economic engine, with an annual economic impact of more than $240 million in the state. The company also supports some 400 local suppliers.

Employees at the Ashley distribution centers in Colton, California and nearby Redlands, where employment has grown in recent years, are not affected by the layoff announcement.

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