Towns Losing Popular Outlet Stores Amid Textile Decline

VALLEY, Ala. (AP) - For decades, Evelyn Kirby knew just where to go when she needed fluffy new bath towels -- the WestPoint factory outlet off Interstate 85 near the Georgia line.

The LaGrange woman and a generation of shoppers like her are looking for a new store these days. New York-based WestPoint Home shut down all 30 of its outlet stores nationwide this month, making them the latest victim of big-box competitors and a U.S. textile industry gone overseas.

The stores were particularly well-known in small Southern towns, where many were located, and the closings surprised those in nearby shops who were used to seeing a constant stream of cars turn off I-85 bound for the Valley, Alabama, store.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

The company decided to get out of the retail business so it closed all of its stores, located in 13 states coast to coast.

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