Hanesbrands Inc, the $4.7bn apparel business that was spun off from Sara Lee Corp last week, is to close three factories in the US and Mexico and axe around 2,185 jobs as it takes steps to strengthen its global supply chain.

Production at the plants in Monclova, Mexico, Lumberton, NC, and Marion, SC, will be moved to "lower-cost" domestic, Caribbean basin and Central American facilities.

The cost of closing the manufacturing plants, which make fleece sweatshirts and trousers, outerwear T-shirts, sport shirts and sheer hosiery will come to $27m in the fiscal year ending 30 Dec 2006. Around $17m of these charges will be non-cash.

"These steps will strengthen our global supply chain by taking advantage of opportunities to improve the competitiveness, effectiveness and value of our operations," Hanesbrands CEO Richard A Noll said in a statement.

"A cost competitive and flexible global supply chain plays a crucial role in contributing to our strong cash flow, increased profitability and investment in our brands and innovation."

The company says its actions will also help improve speed to market, align sewing operations with the flow of textiles, leverage the company's large scale in high-volume products, and consolidate hosiery production capacity.

Work at the Monclova, Mexico, plant is expected to cease by the end of December 2006 and will be moved to the company's other facilities in the Caribbean basin and Central America. This facility has approximately 1,700 employees and sews fleece sweatshirts and pants and outerwear T-shirts.

About 80 positions at the Rosita, Mexico, fabric cutting operation that supplies the Monclova plant will also be eliminated as a result of the production transfer.

Hanesbrands' Lumberton, NC, textile facility, which has 260 employees, will stop making fabric for sport shirts and outerwear T-shirts by the end of November 2006. Production will be shifted to Central America and the company's Forest City, NC, plant.

The Marion, SC, plant, which has approximately 145 employees, will end the production of sheer hosiery by the end of February 2007 and its output will be consolidated into the company's Clarksville, Ark, hosiery production plant.