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Saks Fifth Avenue Is Laying Off Employees

Saks Fifth Avenue is letting go of an unspecified number of workers.

In an emailed statement to FN, the department store confirmed that it would lay off some employees as part of its broader strategy to streamline and transform its business. It did not provide information on the specific departments or the number of roles that would be affected by the move.

“We have been working to strategically evolve our business for some time,” the spokesperson said. “As a result, we have further evaluated our store functions to ensure we are organized in the most optimal way to serve our customers as their shopping habits and preferences continue to change.”

The spokesperson added, “With this, we have had to make some role changes and eliminations. While we understand this is a difficult situation for impacted associates, these shifts are necessary to best position our business for the future.”

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Separately, sources who spoke with FN said that these changes have been underway for some time — even prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement comes about two months after Saks reopened its Manhattan flagship, marking the completion of its phased reopening plan. When the health crisis took hold in mid-March, the company shuttered all of its locations across North America. As coronavirus-induced store closures dragged into April, it made the decision to furlough a portion of its workforce, leaving “small teams” in place to support essential functions such as e-commerce operations.

Saks — which shuttered both of its Brookfield Place locations in New York prior to the pandemic — has long been the top performer for parent Hudson’s Bay Company, which went private early this year after months of back-and-forth buyout proposals. In recent years, HBC had shed many of its less profitable businesses to focus on the luxury chain, as well as its namesake Hudson’s Bay banner. It sold flash sale site Gilt to Rue La La in June 2018, and it let go of its Lord & Taylor business before the start of the 2019 holiday season.

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