LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) -- Boat maker Brunswick Corp. said Tuesday it will cut up to 275 jobs by Friday in order to deal with softening demand.
The recreational boat industry has been squeezed as consumers curb discretionary spending due to the ongoing housing downturn, rising food costs, eroding credit and unemployment concerns.
Brunswick, which also makes exercise and bowling equipment, said the job cuts will occur throughout its Sea Ray manufacturing and product development plants as well as at Sea Ray's Knoxville, Tenn., headquarters. The company is also implementing at least one week of production furloughs at its Sea Ray plants in Tennessee and Florida to bring production rates down. The furloughs will take place each month through June and can be adjusted or canceled if demand picks up or inventory moves faster than expected.
In addition, Brunswick will halt work at its Riverview boat manufacturing plant near Knoxville, with production shifted to other facilities near Knoxville and Vonore, Tenn. Production on certain boat models will be transferred to plants in Florida and Mexico.
"This decision does not reflect upon the Riverview work force or product, but is the result of our need to develop a more efficient manufacturing footprint that is appropriate to the marketplace," Chief Executive Dustan E. McCoy said in a statement.
Brunswick had about 300 workers at its Riverview plant and said it plans to transfer as many jobs as possible to nearby facilities. The company said it may restart production at Riverview if market conditions get better.
Brunswick had approximately 1,500 workers in the Knoxville area at the end of 2008.
In November, Brunswick said it would be closing a Maryland plant, which would result in the elimination of 115 jobs.
Shares of Brunswick gained 44 cents, or 8.5 percent, to $5.63 in morning trading. Over the past year, the stock has traded between $1.82 and $19.63.