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NU SKIN SHUTS DOWN WAREHOUSE IN ATLANTA

Nu Skin International shut down its Atlanta, Ga., warehouse Friday afternoon, putting 370 employees out of work.

Nu Skin officials announced the closure, without advance warning, to workers and local media simultaneously. The multilevel marketing company will handle all U.S. shipping operations from its $8 million, 200,000-square-foot distribution center in Provo.Company spokesman Jason Chaffetz said the change doesn't indicate a drop in Nu Skin's personal-care product sales.

Last year sales slumped while the company was under intense scrutiny by regulatory agencies in several states. Even so, Nu Skin officials say the company came close to its 1991 projected $500 million sales figure. Chaffetz said orders have picked up since the first of the year.

"We're really in a growth mode," he said. Nu Skin estimates it now has 109,000 distributors.

The Provo facility, which can fill 50,000 orders a day, wasn't being used to its full capacity, Chaffetz said. It employs about 500 people.

"We weren't making very good use of our employees and equipment here," he said. "We were sending people home early."

Shipping from Utah "will save a considerable amount in annual operating costs and make much better use of our substantial investment in the Provo facility," said Brooke Roney, vice president of distribution, in a news release. Nu Skin has also renegotiated a more favorable rate with shipping companies, Chaffetz said.

Chaffetz said Georgia workers were not given advance notice of the closure because of concerns about the potential for product tampering by disgruntled employees. The warehouse, located in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta, opened in 1989.

Nu Skin will provide job training service and two months' to six months' severance pay for the out-of-work employees. Unlike the Provo warehouse, the Georgia facility was not a large employer of students.

The Marietta warehouse filled distributor orders for the southeast United States.