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Cotton On creates 500 jobs in Geelong

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MELBOURNE, Nov 16 AAP

November 16 2012, 10:02AM

Clothing company Cotton On will expand its headquarters in Geelong and create 500 new jobs, the Victorian government says.

Premier Ted Baillieu said the new jobs would increase total employment at Cotton On in Geelong to about 1,300 as part of a 12,000-strong workforce worldwide, and ensure business operations remain in the region.

"Cotton On is a great Victorian success story, created in East Geelong in 1991 and now operating across the world," Mr Baillieu said.

Cotton On chief financial officer Michael Hardwick said support from the Victorian government was a key factor in the company's decision to keep its global headquarters in the region.

Cotton On now has 1,000 retail stores in 11 countries, 650 of which are in Australia.

The jobs announcement comes as 212 workers are being laid off at Ford's Geelong and Broadmeadows plants.

Mr Baillieu said the government provided the company with help to expand but would not specify what that assistance involved.

"It's a global business, it's a fresh business, it's a cutting-edge business and it's a successful business," he told reporters in Geelong.

"The company is going to grow and there will be more jobs, more business here from this area."

Mr Baillieu said the fact the announcement was made the same day workers will be sacked at Ford was a coincidence.

Geelong Mayor Keith Fagg said the city was transitioning from a manufacturing-based economy to a service driven, innovative economy.

"This business here at Cotton On is a shining example of that."