Sportswear and equipment maker Everlast Worldwide Inc on Friday said it will axe its sporting goods plant in the Bronx in a move which will see 100 workers lose their jobs.

The New York-based firm said it will take a fourth quarter pre-tax restructuring charge of about $1.7 million when the plant closures next month and its operations shifted to a factory in Missouri.

Chairman and CEO, George Horowitz, said the “difficult” decision had been taken to close the facility as its rent is due to more than double when the current lease runs out in April, 2004.

" We're in a highly competitive industry where few sporting good brands own and operate manufacturing facilities in North America,” he said.

”In order to remain competitive, we need to focus our resources on the most cost efficient manufacturing and supply chain processes while enhancing our sales and marketing efforts in support of our retail customer relationships.”

He added an unspecified number of jobs would be created at the Missouri facility as a result of the consolidation.