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AUBURN HILLS, MI-Manufactured home builder Champion Enterprises Inc. has announced plans to close 64 retail stores and seven manufacturing plants, as well as lay off about 1,500 employees, as part of a restructuring effort to allow the company to break even in the third quarter. Walter R. Young, chairman, president and chief executive officer of the company, says the industry, now entering the fourth year of a down cycle, continues to be affected by tight consumer credit standards and high repossession levels.

“After the closures announced today, our retail operations, excluding closing costs and closed lot operating expenses, are expected to be about break even in the third quarter,” Young says.

He explains it will cost $15 million to make the retail store closures, but the company should save more than $50 million. There are 117 retail locations left, after previous closures of 196 stores, Young adds.

The seven manufacturing closures will improve manufacturing profitability, align capacity with lower industry shipment consolidations and reduce the cost structure, Young says.

The company has already closed 29 manufacturing facilities since mid-1999.

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