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Update: Husqvarna Says Factory Closure Part of Efficiency Push

3 min read

Swedish manufacturer Husqvarna on Monday announced that its 874,000-SF Nashville production facility will be shutting down, affecting about 700 jobs, Nashville Mayor Larry Dunaway confirmed in an interview with Arkansas Business.

“They are going to be completely closed at the end of 2024, so we’ve got about 15 months. They are going to slowly phase out the production and the workers over the next 15 months. There will be about three or four layoffs between now and then as they wind down production,” Dunaway said.

Husqvarna makes power outdoor products including chainsaws, trimmers, cultivators and robotic mowers for homeowners and professional landscapers.

The news follows a July 18 earnings report in which the company announced an 11% rise in quarterly adjusted operating profit, achieved through inventory trimming, price hikes and lower costs. Husqvarna CEO Pavel Hajman said the company’s focus will be on cost efficiency, improving cash flow, and operational flexibility going forward.

When asked for comment, Husqvarna referred Arkansas Business to a July 18 news release, stating it decided to close the facility to “optimize production, enhance regional operational capacity and strengthen efficiency.” It also said the decision was “part of a strategy acceleration, focusing on robotics, electrification, watering, and professional solutions” that will “strengthen the company’s ability to serve regions closer to customers.”

Dunaway said that there have been a few employees who have been offered jobs in the company’s South Carolina branch, where Nashville’s production will be consolidated. He said many other employees are expected to join Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale, which has a poultry processing plant in Nashville.

The impact of the closure will be felt beyond the Husqvarna facility at South Fourth Street and Buck Range Road, Dunaway said. “There [are] several other businesses in town that support Husqvarna with parts and/or labor. It will have quite the ripple effect on our local economy, several businesses, and other property owners that lease property to Husqvarna,” he said.

Dunaway said that he met with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission to make a plan to help displaced employees build a resume and find other jobs in or around Nashville, a city of 4,100 residents. Dunaway said the AEDC also has plans to recruit businesses to take over the Husqvarna properties in Nashville.

“According to the AEDC, they suggest that we wait … four to five months until their exact closing date to start really pushing it. But there’s a lot of work that can be done and a lot of details that could be tended between now and then,” he said.

In a news release, state Secretary of Commerce Hugh McDonald said, “Nashville, Arkansas, has all the components companies are looking for: available real estate, an experienced workforce, and a favorable business climate.”

In 2018, Husqvarna added a 350,000-SF warehouse facility to the Nashville location, which housed a consolidation from Shreveport, Louisiana, and De Queen.

Nashville is in Howard County. According to the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services, the county’s unemployment rate as of May was 2.6%. The county has a population of 12,785, according to the 2020 U.S. Census.

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