NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Timex Group plans to close its North Little Rock distribution center by the end of the year, leaving a state where it's operated since 1945 and costing the center's 64 workers their jobs.
The North Little Rock location handles the distribution, customer-call center and repair and service operations for the U.S. and Canada markets. The call center will move to Timex's facility in the Philippines, and the rest of the operations will move to a third-party company in Indianapolis, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.
John Owens, who heads the local chamber of commerce, said the decision is a "sign of the times." The closure comes at a difficult time for the traditional watch industry.
"Outsourcing distribution to third-party companies who do distribution for multiple companies is much more efficient. You are seeing it in many other industries," Owens said.
According to Owens, the company is working to organize a job fair in the coming weeks for the workers.
North Little Rock Mayor Joe Smith said the city had hoped Timex would continue to be a part of the community, "but our economy often brings changes beyond our control."
Timex opened its first Arkansas manufacturing plant in Little Rock in 1945. The last Little Rock factory closed in 2001.