ANDOVER – Sixty workers employed by Ethan Allen Furniture at its Andover sawmill and dimension mill operation learned Wednesday they have less than 60 days to find work elsewhere.
The furniture maker, which is based in Danbury, Conn., announced Wednesday that America’s severe recession has forced it to consolidate the Andover mill into its sawmill and dimension mill operation in Beecher Falls, Vt.
Dimension mills cut wood into workable lumber. A leading manufacturer and retailer of quality home furnishings, Ethan Allen is consolidating the Beecher Falls mill’s machining, assembly and finishing operations into its Orleans, Vt. plant. This will permanently end the jobs of 260 Beecher Falls millworkers, said David R. Callen, a vice president for Ethan Allen Global Inc. and Subsidiaries.
“Unfortunately, virtually every position will be terminated,” Callen said in an e-mail statement Thursday afternoon. “The associates were informed of the support being provided for them, which will include severance pay.”
He said that as of Wednesday, when affected employees were told the news, the consolidation transitions would happen in the next 60 days.
“We very much regret the impact of this realignment to our Andover and affected Beecher Falls associates,” Farooq Kathwari, chairman and chief executive officer said in a Wednesday news release. Callen said the consolidations and job terminations were directly related to the nation’s economic recession, major declines in sales and profitability and a period of sharp decline in consumer confidence, and liquidations of major competitive home furnishings.
“This action is being taken after several months of extended down time and layoffs at all the plants, which was hard on all the associates and a difficult way to run a business,” Callen said. “While we sincerely regret the need for the decision and the impact this has on so many of our associates, action was needed at this time,” he said.
“The result of these realignments is intended to get the over 325 remaining Vermont-based employees back to working a more normal full-time schedule,” he said.
In its third-quarter sales and earnings report, Ethan Allen recorded retail-delivered sales down 41.8 percent in the three months ending on March 31, compared to the prior year’s third quarter. Wholesale sales were $88.1 million, compared to $156.3 million in the prior year’s quarter.
“While the severe recession has resulted in many challenges, it has also accelerated our process of reinvention,” Kathwari said. “This realignment provides us an opportunity to maintain a competitive advantage from manufacturing in the U.S.”
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