Hudson’s Bay announces 2,000 layoffs

Cuts will offset retail sector challenges and save $350 million annually

Hudson’s Bay Co. announced Thursday it is eliminating 2,000 jobs throughout North America to help offset various challenges it’s facing within the retail sector, which has been beset by store closures with the advent of online shopping.

The retail giant said the layoffs are intended to save $350 million annually once the plan is fully implemented by end of fiscal 2018. Some of the layoffs were previously announced in February, the company said.

“Savings from the changes we have announced today are required to help mitigate the pressures we are facing in the current environment,” Hudson’s Bay CEO Jerry Storch said in a statement after markets closed.

“As we have developed our plan, we have been determined to become not just a leaner company but also a better one.”

The announcement came as HBC released its first-quarter earnings, which showed a net loss of $221 million, more than double the $97 million loss it had in the same period last year. Retail sales were about $3.2 billion, a decrease of $100 million, or three per cent, from the prior year.

Founded in 1670, Hudson’s Bay is the oldest company in North America.

It employs more than 66,000 people and operates more than 480 stores under banners such as the Bay, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor, Gilt, and Saks Off 5th.

Before the announcement, shares in HBC closed down 11 cents, or 1.13 per cent, to $9.62 on 318,378 shares.

The Canadian Press