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Clothing maker to lay off 135 in Wendell

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Delta Apparel said this week it will lay off 135 workers in its M.J. Soffe division in Wendell as it consolidates domestic screen print operations at its Fayetteville facility.

The consolidation, which will result in closing the Wendell workshop, will begin immediately and conclude in early 2014. The company expects to save $1.5 million a year from the reorganization.

"These decisions are never easy, especially when they affect associates who have been dedicated and loyal to our Company," CEO Bob Humphreys said in a statement. "However, as our business becomes increasingly competitive, we can no longer justify the additional cost associated with operating two U.S. decoration facilities."

Delta makes athletic clothing and casual wear. The South Carolina-based company also has operations in Mexico and in Central America and employs about 7,200 people worldwide.

Those affected by the layoffs will be considered for openings and transfers within the company. Delta employes about 500 people in Fayetteville in various functions, such as sewing, screen printing, retail packaging, distribution and product development.

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About the blogger

John Murawski has been a full-time newspaper reporter since 1991, with stints at Legal Times and The Chronicle of Philanthropy (both in Washington, DC), The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Palm Beach Post (in South Florida) before arriving at the N&O in December 2004. At the N&O he covers energy (nuclear, coal, renewable, efficiency), hydraulic fracturing (or "fracking"), public utilities and health care. His beat includes PSNC Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas, Duke Energy Progress, PowerSecure International, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, Biogen Idec and others. He has also contributed more than 30 book reviews on topics spanning botany, history, science and religion. You can reach him at 919-829-8932 or e-mail him.