FORT WAYNE, Indiana (WANE) – According to CEO Robert Wallstrom every Vera Bradley bag and product will be manufactured outside the United States, with the closure of the Adam Center Road factory. WANE-TV interviewed Wallstrom by email Wednesday. He confirmed that lower wages for workers, cheaper raw materials and lower operating costs all impacted Vera Bradley’s decision to move the last of its manufacturing to Asia. Wallstrom said it costs 90% more to manufacture goods domestically than it does overseas.
So what kind of wage does a seamstress earn for making a VB bags in China? Wallstrom said, “We are not privy to each employee’s wages; however, we require that those wages meet the minimum wage requirements for the country in which they are working.”
Vera Bradley has been publicly traded since 2010. The editor of Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly said closing the New Haven facility makes sense for Vera Bradley’s bottom line.
“When you looked at the earnings you’re not surprised,” said Lucretia Cardenas, “This afternoon (VB shares) were down nearly 16 percent. It was about $15.20 a share and when they first went public they were at $16 per share, just to give some perspective.”
Because Vera Bradley is a publicly traded company, NewsChannel 15 asked its CEO whether there is less of a reason to keep production in Northeast Indiana.
“Certainly, Robert Wallstrom said. “We have a responsibility to our shareholders and to ensure the overall health of the business for the future.”