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The Journal Gazette

March 10, 2015 4:57 PM

Vera Bradley to close New Haven plant; about 250 jobless

By Sherry Slater The Journal Gazette

Vera Bradley Inc. today announced plans to close its New Haven factory, putting about 250 employees out of work.

The Fort Wayne-based handbag, luggage and accessories maker produced about 5 percent of its line in the facility, which is scheduled to close May 9 "unless business conditions necessitate earlier action," Vera Bradley said in a statement.

CEO Robert Wallstrom said the company has taken pride in being able to make a portion of its product line in the U.S.

"However, it costs approximately 90 percent more to manufacture goods domestically than in overseas factories, and our domestic manufacturing costs have continued to rise year over year," he said in a statement. "Over the last several months, we have been working hard to figure out how to run our operations more efficiently.

"After careful analysis and consideration," he said, "we concluded that closing this facility is the right long-term financial decision for the company as a whole. This was not an easy decision to make."

Vera Bradley is scheduled to report annual and fourth quarter 2014 earnings Wednesday morning before markets open. 

For more on this story, see Wednesday's print edition of The Journal Gazette or visit www.journalgazette.net after 3 a.m. Wednesday.

sslater@jg.net