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Unilever will close Florida ice cream factory

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PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (AP) — Consumer-goods giant Unilever is closing an ice cream factory in the Tampa Bay area and laying off roughly 210 people.

Unilever spokeswoman Jaime Stein tells the Tampa Bay Times (http://bit.ly/1sJOzwh ) that the company plans to shift its ice cream production to plants in Tennessee and Missouri.

The Pinellas Park plant will close between September and the end of the year. Stein says employees were notified about the closure two weeks ago.

The 55,000-square-foot factory produces Klondike, Good Humor and Popsicle frozen treats.

Unilever's ice cream sales stumbled in the U.S. last year, which the company blamed in a January report on "high levels of low-priced competition." CEO Paul Polman told a conference that the company's ice cream portfolio was the "main culprit" to blame for curbing Unilever's profitability.

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Information from: Tampa Bay Times (St.

Petersburg, Fla.), http://www.tampabay.com.

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