Reitmans lays off most retail staff, one-third of head office employees
Canadian retail group Reitmans Limited said it is laying off 90 percent of its Canadian retail store employees and approximately 30 percent of the company's Montreal head office employees, as it starts to feel the financial pains of Covid-19.
Nearly all retail store employees, across its five brand banners - Reitmans, Penningtons, Addition Elle, RW&CO. and Thyme Maternity - will be out of work as of Sunday, while effected head office employees will be layed off as of Monday.
All remaining employees are being asked to collectively contribute to on-going cost-saving initiatives.
"In our 90+ years' history, we have never had to turn to such drastic measures as those announced today. We are very saddened by the situation, but also confident that we are doing the right thing to overcome these times of hardship and position ourselves to bounce back as quickly as possible,” said Stephen F. Reitman, president and CEO, in a news statement.
“We are beyond grateful to all our valued employees and thank them for their support and understanding. As always, their safety and their family's well-being are paramount and we will continue to follow guidance from federal, provincial and local public health authorities."
The Montreal-based retailer, which employs approximately 7,000 people, closed its 587 stores across the country on March 18. Although it had initially announced store closures until March 28, stores will remain closed until further notice.
Like many retailers at the moment, the company is solely driven by online sales and continues to operate its distribution centre in Montreal, with strict cleaning protocols and social distancing measures.
The retailer was already facing financial pressure before the Covid-19 crisis hit. In its most recent quarter, ended November 2, 2019, sales dropped to $222.3 million, as compared with $239.7 million reported during the same period last year.
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