Designer Brands Cuts 1,000 Positions, Including 380 in Corporate Offices

As companies slash costs amid the continuing pandemic, Designer Brands Inc. is moving forward with permanent layoffs.

In an announcement late today, the parent company of DSW and Camuto Group said a reorganization would impact more than 1,000 jobs overall, representing 8% of the company’s North American associate positions. The company anticipates it will save about $40 million annually as a result of the actions.

“We are making essential changes to how we operate in light of COVID-19 and the accompanying business needs,” said DBI CEO Roger Rawlins in a statement. “As a result, we are reducing and reassigning a portion of our workforce.”

As part of the move, 380 corporate jobs will be eliminated, including about 140 vacant roles that will not be filled. (The cuts represent about 22% of North American corporate positions.)

The overhaul will also mean that more than 700 store associate positions will be eliminated — including about 80 vacant positions that will not be filled.

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Still, the company expects to offer about 550 store employees the chance to transition to a different role or take severance.

In a sign that the shift to digital continues rapidly, Rawlins said the retail move would involve “adjusting” the store management team to take more people off the floor and move them into “warehouse” roles.

The restructuring comes after DSW and most other American retailers were forced to close for months as the coronavirus gripped the country. “While online orders were strong during the closures, e-commerce/digital sales cannot make up for in-store sales,” Rawlins said in the statement. “And while most stores have reopened, consumers’ shopping habits haven’t returned to the prior normal.” (The company furloughed about 80% of its workforce in March.)

The CEO said the company will also further integrate Camuto Group, which it acquired in 2018, into the larger organization. DBI will focus on fewer brands in the Camuto portfolio and is also closing the Sole Society business.

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