Closures and Layoffs (Feb. 8-14)

The latest from Mark Heschmeyer at CoStar Group.

A Weekly Report on Future Corporate Downsizings

By Mark Heschmeyer | February 11, 2009


* Bashas’ Supermarkets, the Chandler, AZ-based operator of AJ’s and Food City grocery stores laid off about 350 full- and part-time workers statewide. The layoffs represent less than 3% of the firm’s total workforce and were spread throughout the grocer’s operations, including administrative offices, distribution centers and its network of retail stores.

* Brooks Automation Inc. based in Chelmsford, MA, is in the process of restructuring its operations. Brooks will be combining its formerly separate vacuum pump and robotic product groups into a single Critical Solutions Group. This move will simplify the company’s organizational structure, reduce facility and overhead requirements and more effectively leverage the overall capabilities of the two Chelmsford, Massachusetts-based groups. The company expects to eliminate approximately 350 additional positions which will reduce the global workforce by about 20%. In the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2008, Brooks reduced headcount by about 10% in response.

* EntreMed Inc. entered into a lease amendment with its landlord, Red Gate III LLC, for its headquarters at 9460 Medical Center Drive in Rockville, Md. The material terms of the amendment include a reduction in the space occupied by the company from 46,267 square feet to 8,554 square feet and a 12-month extension to Feb. 28, 2010. The company’s monthly rent has been reduced from approximately $85,000 to $16,288. The Lease Amendment also provides that the company may use other portions of the premises at no additional cost.

* Ferro Corp. based in Cleveland, OH, is eliminating about 700 positions around the world, which would reduce total employment by approximately 12%. It also continues to consider additional staff reductions.

* Hollis-Eden Pharmaceuticals Inc. based in San Diego, CA, is implementing an aggressive cost-cutting plan. The company is reducing its workforce by approximately 33%, or 20 employees, as well as freezing salaries and suspending bonuses for all company employees, including the company’s executive officers.

* King Pharmaceuticals Inc. based in Bristol, TN, announced restructuring and workforce reduction initiatives arising from its recent acquisition of Alpharma Inc. The actions will result in a total workforce reduction of approximately 22% or approximately 760 positions. Approximately 240 of these reductions are corporate positions associated with synergies from the Alpharma acquisition. Of the other 520 approximately 380 are field sales positions and approximately 140 are corporate positions.

* Liz Claiborne Inc. is implementing additional cost reduction initiatives, including the elimination of approximately 725 positions or 8% of its U.S. workforce, the previously reported closing of its distribution center in Mt. Pocono, PA and the suspension of merit pay increases for all employees. Since 2007, the New York-based company has closed six distribution centers, eliminated about 2,200 global staff positions, and streamlined its brand portfolio by selling, closing or licensing 14 of its brands.

* Magma Design Automation Inc., a San Jose-based provider of chip design software, announced a series of actions designed to reduce operating costs, including a 17% cut in worldwide employment, salary reductions and consolidation of some facilities.

* Panasonic is cutting 15,000 jobs or 5% of its 300,000 workforce. Panasonic is shutting 27 manufacturing sites around the world in a drive to cuts costs and adjust output.

* Pep Boys – Manny, Moe & Jack, the Philadelphia-based auto parts retailer, will implement approximately $20.1 million in pre-tax cost reduction initiatives. These initiatives include the elimination of approximately 50 positions, representing 11% of the store support workforce.

* Pier 1 Imports Inc. based in Fort Worth, TX, has begun negotiating with landlords to achieve rental reductions across the chain. These negotiations may lead to the execution of early termination agreements for up to 125 underperforming store locations, if rental reduction negotiations on those locations prove unsuccessful. The company has engaged an outside firm, DJM Realty, to assist in completing these negotiations by the end of May 2009.

* Rogers Corp. based in Rogers, CT, announced a cost reduction initiative that includes a workforce reduction that combines both voluntary and involuntary terminations and will affect about 200 of its salaried staffing worldwide or about 10%. In addition to the workforce reduction, the company is freezing salaries, and significantly reducing other operating and overhead expenses.

Read the rest of the report (which is a chart with local closings/layoffs).

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