Ashley Furniture to lay off 200 from Ecru, Ripley

ECRU, Miss. (AP) - Ashley Furniture Industries Inc., one of the

nation's largest furniture manufacturers and retailers, says it is

cutting about 200 jobs - 5 percent of its Mississippi work force -

at plants in Ecru and Ripley.

Brent Koslo, Ashley's vice president of upholstery operations,

made the announcement Friday. He said the layoffs were needed in

order to keep the company competitive.

He says 3,500 people are still working for Ashley, which is

based in Arcadia, Wis.

The housing industry slowdown has meant less demand for

furniture, at the same time that rising gas and food prices have

cut household budgets.

Furniture Today reported this month that Ashley Furniture's

sales rose from $594 in 2003 to $3.05 billion last year, more than

any other company in the country.


Information from: Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal,

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)