LaCrosse Footwear Inc announced today it is relocating its Rainfair Industrial division to other company locations in an effort to reduce distribution costs and improve efficiencies.

The changes will be completed by September 1, 2002, and the company will record a non-recurring charge of around  $1 million during the second quarter of 2002, of which $0.6 million represents non-cash charges.

In making the announcement, LaCrosse Footwear stressed Rainfair Industrial will remain an important division, serving the core industrial market with both protective apparel and footwear marketed under the Rainfair and LaCrosse brands. It will be supported by the existing sales management resources in Racine, Wisconsin.

Logistics operations will continue in the Midwest at the company's distribution centre in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, while customer service, marketing, information technology and finance will be relocated to Portland, Oregon, where the company currently manages its Danner and LaCrosse retail brands.

"LaCrosse Footwear, Inc. remains committed to the core industrial and safety market with its LaCrosse and Rainfair brands," said Joseph P Schneider, president and CEO of LaCrosse Footwear Inc in a statement.

"In order to meet the needs of our customers for efficient, cost-effective operations, we concluded that leveraging our current functional systems and infrastructure will enhance our overall customer service levels and allow for improved operating performance," he added.

As well as reducing distribution costs and improving efficiencies by processing orders for both products from a single logistics centre, additional improvements will be generated through increased efficiencies in customer service, financial management, information technology and other support functions.

A sales management office will be maintained in the Racine, Wisconsin area to ensure continuity of sales and key account service.