(Temple, TX – August 10, 2010) – Wilsonart International announced today that it will discontinue its Wilsonart Flooring product line and close both the Wilsonart Flooring and cast sinks manufacturing operations in Temple, Texas. Several factors drive this extremely difficult decision for Wilsonart, not the least of which are the sluggish U.S. economy and continuing declines in sales of both high pressure laminate flooring and cast sink products.
Wilsonart Flooring competes for consumer preference with not only other laminate flooring products, but also with alternative products such as: wood, vinyl, tile, carpet, and more. Wilsonart Flooring, the only high pressure laminate flooring product still manufactured in the United States, is also one of the highest priced laminate flooring offerings in the market today. Consumers, burdened by the economy and construction woes, have opted for lower prices versus higher value options as they look for ways to save. Competitive forces and foreign markets continue to put pressure on prices.
"All of these factors have worked against us and customers," explained Bill DiGaetano, president of Wilsonart in North America. "Despite focused resources and programming toward building preference for High Pressure Laminate Flooring and changes in processes, procedures, people, and product, we have not been able to sustain any turn-around in our business. This convinces us that we will be unable to uphold these businesses for future growth or investment."
The Wilsonart cast acrylic sink business has also declined, due in part to competition from foreign suppliers and dramatically increasing raw material costs. The company remains committed to the sink business and is currently seeking alternate resources for cast sinks. Meanwhile, initiatives to develop the molded acrylic Wilsonart HD sink line have resulted in a versatile product that works with multiple countertop materials.
Wilsonart Flooring manufacturing will be discontinued on October 29, 2010 and the business will cease operations on December 3, 2010. Manufacturing operations for sinks will stop on December 3, 2010. During this phase down period, the company expects approximately 50 full-time employees around the country to be impacted by the shutdown due to job eliminations.
DiGaetano emphasized that Wilsonart will continue to stand behind the flooring and sink products sold prior to and through the shut-down period. All warranties will be honored through their designated timeframe. The company will post warranty procedures and contacts on its websites shortly.
"As a whole, Wilsonart remains strong despite the economy," says DiGaetano. "The Flooring business represents approximately 4% of our revenue in North America. Our focus now is on growth, innovation and renewal. We believe that these strategic moves will make us even stronger as the country moves toward recovery."
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