Canadian apparel maker Gildan Activewear Inc. is considering expanding its Charleston distribution center off Clements Ferry Road.
Gildan has filed an application with the Army Corps of Engineers for a permit to fill about 2 acres of wetlands for construction of the building and a parking area adjacent to an existing 850,000-square-foot warehouse.
Gildan spokesman Garry Bell said the company is "evaluating many possible uses for the land" and, therefore, doesn't have specific details on investment, job creation or construction timelines.
Berkeley County Council discussed the expansion under the code name "Project Eagle" during a closed session on Jan. 28, but has not publicly discussed the proposal or any additional tax incentives for Gildan.
Although lost orders resulting from Hurricane Florence-related shipping limitations and higher capital costs are expected to contribute to lower revenue and cash flow when Gildan reports full-year earnings this week, analysts expect the company to rebound in the coming year.
That's due in part to a contract the manufacturer recently won to produce private-label men's underwear for Walmart. Gildan now has four private-label contracts and the company said it hopes to sign more in the underwear and activewear category, according to a report by Bloomberg.
A growing number of retailers are pushing their own private-label brands as a way to boost profits and stand out in the crowded activewear market, Rhodri Harries, Gildan's chief financial officer, told analysts during a Nov. 1 conference call.
“We feel we are well positioned to pursue this opportunity," he said.
Shelf space committed to Gildan-made products will grow by 50 percent at Walmart stores, Bloomberg reported.
Gildan opened its Charleston facility in 2010 to distribute its socks, T-shirts, underwear and other products imported through the Port of Charleston to retailers such as Walmart and Dollar General. The company also has its branded apparel headquarters at the site, which formerly housed a distribution center for tabletop-products maker Mikasa.
The company — which employs more than 500 people in Charleston, according to the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce — sells most of its T-shirts to third-party screen-printing shops around the country, which add sports logos and other emblems for resale.
Glenn Chamandy, the company's CEO, told the Post and Courier in 2010 that many people own Gildan products without realizing it.
"If you go home and open up your drawers, you'll see that just about everyone owns a Gildan," Chamandy said during the Charleston distribution center's opening event.
Note: This story has been updated with comments from Gildan spokesman Garry Bell.