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PILLOWTEX DEMISE HURTS YARN MAKER.

GASTONIA, N.C.-When a major client like Pillowtex shutters its business, it hurts.

That could be said of Parkdale Mills, one of the largest yarn manufacturers, which announced the closure of two cotton yarn plants, one in Belmont, N.C., and another in Landis, N.C., in close proximity to Pillowtex's former Kannapolis corporate headquarters. Some 161 workers, starting in November, will have no jobs.

"Pillowtex is one of the big factors," said John Nims, president of the manufacturing operations at Parkdale. "It is pretty much the statement of our industry."

Pillowtex, the third-largest mill and manufacturer of sheets and towels, used to order yarn from Parkdale, which also counts Springs Industries and WestPoint Stevens among it customers, as well as apparel companies.

"In the last five years, we've closed a minimum of seven plants," Nims said. Home furnishings accounts for 40 percent -- or even more if it includes the Pillowtex account -- of its total business.

A big issue for Parkdale is the U.S. foreign trade policy that it said has encouraged a flood of imports to the detriment of domestic manufacturers and its workers. "One of our concerns is China and their currency," he said.

A broad coalition of manufacturers, including Parkdale, have said time and again that China uses currency practices that are illegal under world trade rules to give its products an estimated 40 percent advantage over U.S.-produced textiles and apparel goods.

The U.S. government, the coalition said, has refused to take action against China regarding these practices. China, members said, also heavily subsidizes its textiles sector.

What directly impacts Parkdale's customers also affects the company, Nims said. If domestic mills like Pillowtex can't compete, it would be difficult for the yarn manufacturers to compete, too, he added.

Yarn manufacturers lately have had to face up to the reality of the mills increasing their sourcing business and restructuring to cut cost. Sales at retail have also been slow.

"The industry is depressed right now. Sales in textiles are down. We are hoping that in the future it will get better," Nims said.
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Title Annotation:Parkdale Mills
Author:Leizens, Leticia
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 15, 2003
Words:350
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