Nordstrom Lays Off More Than 500 Employees in Home State of Washington

Hundreds of Nordstrom workers have lost their jobs over the past couple months.

The department store confirmed the termination of 521 employees in its home state through a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification notice received by Washington’s Employment Security Department on Friday. The permanent layoffs began on May 8 as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic swept across the United States and forced the shutdown of the retailer’s brick-and-mortar fleet.

As part of the WARN Act, employers with 100 or more workers are required to notify impacted workers at least 60 days prior to layoffs or store closures. Early this month, Nordstrom told FN that it was “making adjustments” in response to shifting consumer behaviors amid the current health crisis. Although it did not specify the number of employees that would be affected, a report from The Seattle Times — which cited an unnamed veteran corporate worker who had just been laid off — suggested that the chain had cut 6,000 jobs across the country last month.

“We’re realigning and reducing our workforce to support our market strategy, including in our corporate support teams,” a spokesperson wrote in an email to FN on July 1. “These types of decisions are never easy, because we realize the impact it has on our people. We’re committed to taking care of them as best we can during this transition.”

According to the company, every eligible employee received a severance package that includes benefits through the government’s Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (or COBRA) and outplacement support.

In an effort to reduce expenses and maintain liquidity amid a challenged macroeconomic environment, Nordstrom has recently taken several steps: It has drawn down its $800 million revolver, as well as announced plans to permanently shutter 16 of its full-time stores and three Jeffrey boutiques.

The retailer’s first-quarter report in late May showed a net loss of $521 million, or a loss of $3.33 per share, compared with analysts’ expectations of a loss of 95 cents per share. Revenues for the three months ended May 2 fell to $2.12 billion from last year’s $3.44 billion, while market watchers anticipated sales of $2.41 billion.

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