Sears Layoffs Continue at Headquarters

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The downsizing at Sears, Roebuck and Co., which has been going on for more than a year, will continue in the spring, with most reductions taking place at its Hoffman Estates, IL-headquarters.


Company spokeswoman Jan Drummond provided no details about the timing of the upcoming layoffs or the number of employees who will be terminated.


"[It is] unlikely that it will [take place] at our stores," she said. "There may be some non-store field positions that might be affected, but those would be small numbers."


Drummond did not say whether the Direct segment would be affected.


"It's fair to say that all areas and all of the functions carried out at headquarters are under review," she said. "We have had some serious emphasis on productivity over the last couple of years. Continuous improvement is one of the things we must achieve. This includes eliminating unnecessary positions and working smarter."


The number of employees at its corporate headquarters is approximately 5,300. Sears employs 300,000 worldwide.


The company's same-store sales have been down for 18 consecutive months. During that time about 4,900 salaried positions have been cut, principally in stores since the staff structure was streamlined. The equivalent of an additional 1,000 positions have been eliminated in the form of a reduction in hours among part-time workers.


Last year the company's credit card unit accounted for about two-thirds of its profits.


In January, operating income for the company's Credit and Financial Products fell $63 million, or 14.8 percent, from the prior year. The company attributed this to uncollectible accounts as it put aside $160 million more in the fourth quarter than it did in that period last year for people who are not paying their accounts.


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