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Chico's to Expand Operations in Winder/Barrow County

Tuesday, December 20, 2005  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


Expanded Distribution Center and New Call Facility to Generate 182 New Jobs

ATLANTA – Governor Sonny Perdue announced today that Chico 's, a rapidly-growing women's specialty clothing company, will expand its Winder/Barrow County distribution center and open an adjacent call center.  The company's expansion will create 182 jobs and represent an investment of $10.1 million.

“We're happy that Chico 's has chosen to grow with Georgia and offer more than 180 jobs to our citizens,” said Governor Sonny Perdue.  “The resources the company has found in our state will contribute immeasurably to its continued success.”

Chico 's, headquartered in Fort Myers , Fla. , has grown rapidly over the last several years, opening 120 new retail stores last year.  The company had sales of $1.1 billion in 2004 and experienced a 45 percent sales increase in its 2003 fiscal year, with about 40 percent growth the four previous years.

“We are pleased to have this opportunity to continue the growth of our business in Georgia and specifically Barrow County ,” said Barry Shapiro, Chico 's senior vice president of distribution and logistics.  “Our partnerships with the state and local governments, as well as the talent pool of associates available to us, have helped make this area one in which we can grow.”

The present distribution center in Winder, which was expanded in 2004, is 235,000 square feet and employs 211 fulltime workers.  Chico 's has purchased 19 acres of improved property, including a 50,000-square-foot building, adjacent to the current distribution center.  The company expects to begin using the new facility for a call center in the first quarter of fiscal year 2006, and for distribution in the second quarter, to accommodate the expansion of the direct-to-consumer business for its Chico's, White House | Black Market and Soma by Chico's brands.

“We are thrilled Chico 's has committed to expanding its investment and presence in our community,” said Carolyn Delamont, president of the Barrow County Chamber and Economic Development Authority.  “The company is an excellent corporate citizen, and it's an honor to partner with them in their continued growth.”

“ Georgia 's highway system makes our state an ideal location for nearby distribution centers like Chico 's,” said Craig Lesser, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development.  “Easy access to markets helps companies thrive, and Georgia 's logistics systems are second to none.”

Chico 's is a specialty retailer of private label clothing, intimates, complementary accessories, and other non-clothing gift items.  The company operates 745 women's specialty stores, including stores in 47 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico operating under the Chico's, White House | Black Market and Soma by Chico's names.  The company owns 490 Chico 's front-line stores, 29 Chico 's outlet stores, 193 White House | Black Market front-line stores, 6 White House | Black Market outlet stores and 14 Soma by Chico 's stores; franchisees own and operate 13 Chico 's stores.