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L.A. apparel firm lays off hundreds

December 18, 2008|Andrea Chang

Los Angeles retailer American Apparel Inc. said Wednesday that it had laid off several hundred employees companywide.

The layoffs were the result of a reduction in the company's expansion plans and a recent $15-million upgrade to its machinery and equipment that boosted worker productivity, spokesman Elliot Sloane said.

"As a result, if employee productivity is up, the need for the same numbers of employees decreases," Sloane said, adding that many who were laid off had been with the company less than six months.

In September, American Apparel announced that its worldwide employment had reached more than 10,000 workers.

The retailer is known for making colorful cotton basics, but also for its chief executive, Dov Charney, and its efforts to promote U.S. immigration reform.

The company has posted some of the strongest sales gains among major retail chains in recent months.

In November, sales at stores open at least a year increased 6% compared with a year earlier.

Shares of American Apparel fell 21 cents, or 8%, to $2.40.

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andrea.chang@latimes.com

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