The Massachusetts-based sportswear giant has made the “extremely difficult” decision to furlough a portion of its workforce across its owned retail stores, factories and offices, according to a statement from President and CEO Joe Preston. In an email to FN, the company declined to provide additional details at this time regarding when its furloughs will begin and how many employees will be impacted.
Effective March 16, New Balance implemented office, factory and retail closures in the U.S., Canada and Western Europe. Outposts were initially shut through March 27, with associates to receive regular pay and benefits during this period.
Amid the coronavirus crisis, New Balance announced on March 24 the allocation of $2 million in grants to support local, regional and global communities through its New Balance Foundation. The money went to multiple organizations, including No Kid Hungry, Good Shepherd Food Bank in Maine and several more in its network of more than 60 grantees. Additionally, the athletic brand has begun to make face mask prototypes in its Lawrence, Mass., manufacturing facility, with plans to begin to scale production to other facilities in the New England region.
Over the last three weeks, more than 16 million Americans have filed jobless claims as coronavirus pummels the U.S. economy. Major footwear players such as Nordstrom, Macy’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods have chosen to implement executive pay cuts and furlough a portion of their workforces as brick-and-mortar outposts remain shut with no certain reopening date in sight.