WILKES-BARRE TWP. — Another 83 employees are slated to be laid off at Lord & Taylor’s distribution center, according to a recent state WARN notice.
The layoffs are expected to begin Aug. 31 and continue to Feb. 1 of next year.
The WARN notice is listed as an update to a filing on Jan. 17 that notified the state Department of Labor & Industry that the company was laying off 202 workers in March and April.
According to the website of Hudson Bay Company (HBC), Lord & Taylor’s parent company, “an increased focus on driving Lord & Taylor’s digital business, combined with new leadership and an optimized store footprint, is expected to reduce costs and improve the overall performance of this business.”
“To better balance the brand’s brick and mortar presence with its online channels and increase profitability, the company expects to close up to 10 Lord & Taylor stores through 2019,” the statement continues. “This reduced store network will allow new leadership to re-think the model and better position Lord & Taylor for future success.”
When the 202 layoffs were announced earlier this year, the Lord & Taylor website indicated they were due to “closure,” but Lord & Taylor’s parent company HBC said the local center was staying open. It is not known what effect the next wave of layoffs will have on the company’s status.
The 600,000 square-foot facility on Highland Park Boulevard, opened in 1992 and an 8,000-square-foot clearance center and outlet store formerly located within the distribution center closed in 2015.
A company spokesman responded with the following statement:
“As part of a recent review of our contact centers in an effort to improve our customer experience across all channels, we have decided to consolidate the remainder of our customer contact center functions currently in Wilkes-Barre to a third-party vendor,” it began.
“The Wilkes-Barre Distribution Center will remain open and all retail-focused departments and other support functions, including store staffing and print shop, will continue to operate there,” the statement continued.
“We are committed to offering support and assistance to associates affected by these operational changes, and regular full- and part-time associates will receive appropriate employment separation packages. Transfer opportunities will be explored for impacted associates where feasible,” it concluded.
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.