Williams-Sonoma slashes 18% of workforce

Struggling US retail giant Williams-Sonoma is axing 1,400 jobs as the business continues to sustain huge slumps in sales.
The move, which amounts to an 18% reduction in employees, is accompanied by the closure of a call centre and a 500,000sq ft distribution facility. All will be completed by January 31.

The company hopes to save around $60m by its actions, while other cutbacks should reduce overheads by a further $15m.

“In addition to the actions we are taking this quarter, we are continuing to target further 2009 reductions in inventory, catalogue circulation, retail leased square footage growth and capital spending,” explained company chairman/CEO Howard Lester.

Like-for-like sales at the company, which operates the Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids and West Elm outlets, dropped 24.2% over the Christmas period.

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