Monroe, Mich.-based furniture manufacturer La-Z-Boy Inc. recently laid off about 850 employees, or nearly 10% of its global workforce, and closed a manufacturing plant in Newton, Miss., amid the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
Production at the shuttered upholstery plant will be shifted to three company plants, including one in Siloam Springs. The Newton plant employed about 300 people and accounted for about 10% of the upholstery production for the La-Z-Boy branded business.
Some production of the motion sofas and classics, or high-leg recliners, will be shifted to the Siloam Springs plant, said Kathy Liebmann, director of investor relations and corporate communications for La-Z-Boy.
The company announced March 29 the temporary closure of its U.S. plants and stores and furloughed nearly 6,800 people. Manufacturing operations resumed at the end of April and have ramped since then based on demand, Liebmann said, adding that as demand rises more employees will return from furlough.
When the Siloam Springs plant was shut down in March, it had about 420 employees. Since then, more than 300 employees have returned to work. Some jobs were cut there in the recent layoffs, Liebmann added. The company declined to provide the number of layoffs by plant.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a far-reaching impact,” said Kurt Darrow, chairman, president and CEO of La-Z-Boy. “We responded quickly in March with our COVID-19 Action Plan to ensure the health, safety and well-being of our employees, customers and the communities in which we operate, while managing short-term liquidity. As a result, we are confident we will emerge from the crisis with strength and remain a leader in the industry.
“It is now appropriate to leverage the efficiencies we have created across the company and right-size our business for the long term given the impact of COVID-19 on the state of the economy,” Darrow added. The company has 4.5 million square feet of manufacturing space.