LA CROSSE, Wis. (May 14)—LaCrosse Footwear Inc. is closing its rubber boot plant in LaCrosse, a move that will affect about 125 employees. "Over the past five years, the footwear industry has experienced some drastic changes, particularly as it relates to sourcing," said Joseph P. Schneider, LaCrosse president and CEO. "Global sourcing is now a requirement in order for our company to be competitiveà. I came to the conclusion that we could no longer add value by being a domestic manufacturer of rubber products—thus the decision to close the plant." The company downsized the operation only a few months ago, when it said it would be outsourcing more than 60 percent of production this year. The plant will cease operations June 1, the company said. LaCrosse will take a $4.5 million charge against earnings to cover closing costs. The announcement coincided with the release of first-quarter results. For the period ended March 31, LaCrosse suffered a net loss of $1.49 million, more than four times larger than the loss of $323,000 a year ago. Net sales fell 6.1 percent to $29.1 million.