Spiegel Plans 255 Job Cuts

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About 255 employees at Spiegel Catalog and its corporate support staff at Spiegel Inc. will lose their jobs, the Spiegel Group said yesterday.


Spokeswoman Debbie Koopman said about half of the 255 workers were scheduled to be let go yesterday with the rest leaving during the next two months. Most of those affected are at the company's headquarters and data center, both in Illinois.


"All of them are in the Chicago area, in Downers Grove," she said. "It's the Spiegel Catalog organization and Spiegel Inc. corporate being affected -- 185 in Spiegel Catalog, and [in the] corporate support staff it's 70. [It] cuts across all areas."


Total combined staffing had been 550. The layoffs in the data center are 70 corporate support staff members.


Though the company said April 6 that it was in preliminary negotiations with an unidentified party interested in acquiring Spiegel Catalog, it continues to work with financial adviser Miller Buckfire Lewis Ying & Co. to evaluate and assist in determining potential interest in Spiegel Catalog.


"We're taking the steps that are important to position the business to make a smooth transition if we are successful in reaching an agreement -- steps that will minimize the operating losses of Spiegel Catalog," Koopman said.


Koopman said the negotiations were confidential when asked whether the other party had expressed an interest in seeing the headcount reduction. She also would not reveal the interested party's identity, how far along negotiations were, savings expected from the layoffs, nor did she discuss a possible dollar amount for the possible sale.


The company warned that there is no guarantee any purchase will occur, and that uncertainty exists regarding whether a potential buyer would assume most of the current Spiegel Catalog work force.


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