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From Home Furnishing Business

La-Z-Boy to Expand England Factory, Construct Office Building

La-Z-Boy (NYSE: LZB) said it will spend about $10 million to expand its England Inc. upholstery plant in New Tazewell, Tenn., and construct a new corporate office building there.

The factory expansion will add about 87,000 square feet to its 1.1 million square-foot New Tazewell complex, which produces stationary and motion upholstery for delivery in 21 days or less.

The corporate office building will be a 22,500 square-foot structure that will replace one destroyed by fire last May. It will be a LEED-certified building featuring an open-concept floor plan, and will be home to about 100 employees.

The entire New Tazewell complex, which began operations in 1964 and was acquired by La-Z-Boy in 1995, has about 1,400 employees.

The company said construction will begin immediately on both projects. The plant expansion should be in operation by January 2019, and the office building will be ready for occupancy in the spring of next year.

“Ongoing strategic investments across our manufacturing operations is essential as we continue to strengthen our domestic manufacturing platform to grow our business and return value to shareholders,” said Kurt Darrow, La-Z-Boy chairman, president and CEO. “England has been an excellent performer over the years with consistent increases in sales and profitability.  Increasing capacity at the New Tazewell facility will allow us to answer existing demand challenges and continue to expand the England business.”

Darrow said he is appreciative of the support provided by the state of Tennessee and the city of New Tazewell.

“We look forward to the plant expansion and hiring additional workers as England continues to flourish,” he said. “And, with our commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship, we intend to construct a LEED-certified corporate office building utilizing recognized sustainable building practices.”

Added England President Terry England, “This is an exciting time for England as we continue to canvas the United States and add to our dealer network. Expanding our production capacity will allow us to improve the efficiency of our existing operations while increasing output to satisfy the additional demand we are already experiencing.”

“We will be methodical throughout the construction process to ensure there is no disruption of service to our customer base and they continue to receive their orders in 21 days or less,” he added.

A statement from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development said the project would result in about 200 new jobs at the New Tazewell facility.

“I congratulate England on its decision to expand its operations in New Tazewell and for creating more than 200 new jobs in Claiborne County,” Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said in the statement. “England has had operations in our state for more than 50 years and it means a great deal that this well-established company is continuing to create high-quality jobs here. Because of companies like England, Tennessee will lead in job growth and economic development.”

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