The world's largest apparel company, VF Corp, on Thursday announced plans to axe seven US textile plants with the loss of 3,000 jobs in a bid to remain competitive.

The North Carolina-based maker of Lee and Wrangler jeans, whose other brands include Vanity Fair, North Face, Lee Sport and Lily of France, made the shock announcement just hours after posting a 25 per cent jump in quarterly profits.

VF said it will close plants in Lebanon, Missouri; Woodstock and Luray, Virginia; Coalgate and Okemah, Oklahoma; and El Paso, Texas. Some of the plants are expected to shut in December and the rest in May.

Vice president Cindy Knoebel cited sluggish sales and the weak economy for the cuts which will leave it with around 18,000 workers in the US and a further 36,000 abroad.

"We feel we need to keep up with our competition in terms of the amount of production we have domestically versus offshore," Knoebel said.

"These moves are difficult but necessary if we are going to stay competitive."