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Manufacturing - Barely Making the Grade - Schottenstein Stores Corp. buys wholesale operations of Bugle Boy Industries Inc - Brief Article - Statistical Data Included

Year in Review: Local employment held steady, slipping just over 1 percent to 618,800 from 629,400 a year ago... Hits were taken in durable goods markets, furniture and fixtures, which declined to a combined 27,200 jobs from 28,400 a year ago, and in non-durables, which dropped to 95,500 jobs from 99,500 last year.

Smaller apparel firms suffer as energy costs climb, economy slows and imports increase... Columbus, Ohio-based Schottenstein Stores Corp. in March purchased the wholesale operations of blue-jean maker Bugle Boy Industries Inc. out of bankruptcy... Pico Rivera textile firm L.A. Dye & Print shut doors in February, resulting in 700 jobs lost... On the upside, Karen Kane Inc., a Vernon-based young women's apparel maker, equaled its 2000 sales of $75 million... Similar gains at Great Escape Manufacturing Corp., an L.A. children's wear company, where sales climbed to $75 million from $62 million in 2000.

Players to Watch: Unhurt by the recession were composite material sporting goods makers... Expect a boom in 2002. Local examples are Van Nuys-based Easton Sports Inc., which makes bats, and Valencia-based Answer Products Inc., which makes suspensions for mountain bicycles.


John Paul Richard Inc., a Calabasas women's clothes maker, projects revenues to increase to $135 million from $120 million in 2001... Vernon-based Richter Furniture Manufacturing hired a new designer to create collection of case good pieces and will increase staff to 210 employees from current 190... LL International Shoe Co. Inc. projects 2002 sales of $32 million from $24.3 million in 2001 as the L.A. urban fashion shoe maker unveils its first line of basketball sneakers with a big-name NBA endorsement.

Buzz for 2002: Although decline in factory output has bottomed out, manufacturing will see 2-5 percent job loss through April... Textile metal processing, food and chemical processing plants -- particularly those in Southern California Edison territory -- will continue to suffer from high energy costs. Companies that survived the 2001 crisis by reducing energy consumption will remain in tact.

More job cuts coming at Guess Inc.... Slow but steady overall manufacturing recovery through second half of year, with sector employment returning to 625,000 by end of year... Greatest gains in advanced technology, security devices, biomedical and classic defense firms.

John Paul Richards will implement plans to license its brand name 150 retail stores in China with the first 20 to 30 opening in 2002... Charlie Rocket Inc. of L.A. to introduce new lines of clothes for newborn boys and pre-teen girls.

Grade: B-

COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group

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