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Ashley Furniture plans groundbreaking at NC site

ADVANCE, N.C. (AP) -- The country's largest furniture maker and retailer plans to break ground on a big new North Carolina complex after a long environmental delay.

Ashley Furniture Industries Inc. planned a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday for the biggest phase of an $80 million home furnishings complex near the Davie County town of Advance.

Wisconsin-based Ashley Furniture announced a year ago it is building a new production and distribution site employing 550 workers in five years.

The privately owned company could receive special tax breaks of up to $4 million in addition to standard breaks for job creation and investment. State legislators approved a further tax break in 2011 they said was aimed at attracting an Ashley operation that could grow to about 1,100 workers.