Harry & David announces staff cuts

Harry & David Holdings said Monday it was reducing its staff by 50 positions, or 2.5 percent of its workforce.

It's the largest non-seasonal layoff since the Medford-based gift and gourmet food company emerged from Chapter 11 court protection in September 2011.

"We engaged in a restructuring today to better align the organization around the company's business strategy and growth areas," Harry & David CEO Craig Johnson said in a statement. "While actions like these are never easy, this business realignment allows us to maintain our competitiveness in a changing consumer market and to position us for the continued advancement of our brands in the marketplace."

Johnson said Harry & David has added more than 150 full-time employees during the past two years. It was unclear if the cuts were limited to Medford or included the company's Hopewell campus in Hebron, Ohio. At least some of the pink slips went out in the information technology department.

"We will continue our efforts to develop our infrastructure, investments and resources around our evolving business needs," he said in the release.

Harry & David recorded net earnings of $41.6 million on sales of $260.4 million during the Christmas holiday quarter, ending Dec. 28.

Johnson sounded a note of warning during his comments accompanying last month's quarterly earnings announcement.

The CEO said the company was pursuing long-term growth strategies of brand and category expansion, customer file growth and meeting customers where they want to browse and shop.

"Amidst these objectives, we also are right-sizing the cost structure of the business," Johnson said. "We believe these efforts will result in a thriving, growing, and more profitable company."

— Greg Stiles

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