SANTERAMO IN COLLE, ITALY - Leather furniture maker Natuzzi SpA will lay off 1,726 employees as part of its plan to reorganize operations following six-years of operating losses.

The Italian upholstery manufacturer said 1,580 of the laid off employees work in the plants and 146 work in services. Natuzzi said the reorganization will help it to retain 2,789 jobs.

In its statement, Natuzzi (NYSE: NTZ) said, "In recent years, the upholstered furniture industry has been heavily impacted by the effects of globalization, the strong appreciation of the Euro against other major currencies and increased pricing pressure from emerging countries as a result of the low cost of labor, unfair competition and black market labor.

"Despite the company’s investments and efforts over the last few years, the crisis of the real estate market and the further decline in consumption in Europe and Italy have imposed upon the Natuzzi Group a primary goal: safeguarding the company."

Towards that goal, Natuzzi said it will invest more than $248.2 million (190 million Euro) in productions, processes and marketing.

Founded in 1959 by Pasquale Natuzzi, Natuzzi designs and manufactures a broad collection of residential upholstered furniture sold worldwide under the Natuzzi, Italia, Natuzzi Editions, Leather Editions and Softaly brands. Considered Italy's largest furniture manufacturer, the company posted 2012 consolidated revenues of $611.3 million (468.8 million Euro).

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