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JanSport impacts: 380 to lose their jobs

Jansport's parent company announced on April 4, 2017, that its collegiate apparel facility in the Appleton area will close. (WLUK/Chris Bourassa photo)

(WLUK) The JanSport collegiate apparel operations in Appleton will be closing, as part of a transaction by its parent, VF Corporation - putting 380 people out of work.

VF Corp. announced Tuesday it is selling its licensed sports group business to Fanatics, Inc.

"Because of these fluctuations in our business, we have initiated some actions across parts of our operations at our VF Outdoor facility in Appleton. These actions include ceasing our apparel decoration operations at the VF Outdoor facility in Appleton later this year. This also includes our JanSport Collegiate Licensed Apparel business, which will be winding down business in the coming months," said Vanessa McCutchen, spokesperson for VF Corp.

"We have no plans to close our VF Outdoor facility in Appleton. It will remain open and will continue to service VF’s Outdoor brands with accounting, finance, credit and customer service functions. While we regret that these actions will impact associates and their families, we are confident that this is the right strategic direction for VF and will enable the company to refocus the composition of our portfolio for future growth," she said in an email to FOX 11.

The VF Outdoor facility in Greenville will continue to employ 370 people, she said. The facility will remain open and will continue to service VF’s Outdoor brands with accounting, finance, credit and customer service functions.

VF’s LSG business includes the Majestic brand, which supplies apparel and fanware through licensing agreements with U.S. and international professional sports leagues and teams.

Some employees at the VF outdoor facility in Greenville will be suffering the effects of a corporate deal between two apparel companies.

Jim Golembeski, Executive Director of the Bay Area Workforce Development Board, said, "Anytime you have a separation like this, it's traumatic for people."

JanSport's parent company, VF Corporation, announced Tuesday it would be selling part of its business to Fanatics, Inc.

That means the VF Outdoor Facility in Appleton will no longer be making JanSport Collegiate Licensed Apparel... and 380 people will be put out of work.

In a statement, VF says, "While we regret that these actions will impact associates and their families, we are confident that this is the right strategic direction for VF..."

Golembeski says this is typical economic change.

"I'm not looking at this as having a major impact on the workforce in the valley or in the larger economy," he said.

But he says for those 380 workers, it's a big deal.

Golembeski said, "Yes it's scary, and it's difficult, but we've got some time."

Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson said, "It certainly is bad news, and I feel really bad for the workers, as well as their families. Whether it's an announcement of one person losing their jobs, or in this case just under 400, it's not good for those workers, and for those families."

VF says the first layoffs will be starting in June. Golembeski says it's a good economy for those workers to be entering.

"There are a lot of really good employment opportunities," Golembeski said. "We'll be sending a team in to talk with the workers about what kind of services are available to them, whether it's help in getting a new job, or retraining for something."

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