Specialty Retail Slump: Lillian Vernon, Pier 1 Face Layoffs

Two specialty retailers announced major layoffs due to consolidations and cost-cutting measures.

Virginia Beach, Virginia-based Lillian Vernon Corp., a national catalog and online retailer, will lay off about 230 employees at the end of August.

A spokesperson for the company said many of the 230 workers may be hired as seasonal employees.

The company typically employs 800 full-time workers, with up to 3,000 seasonal workers hired between late August and early January.

This follows last week’s announcement that it is losing Time-Life’s call center and distribution business on August 31.

The affected workers now handle calls and distribution for Time Life Music and Books.

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Time-Life has contracted with Lillian Vernon to handle its fulfillment since 2004. On March 2, Ripplewood Holdings, Time-Life’s majority owner, led an investor-backed consolidation of Reader’s Digest and Time-Life.

Meanwhile, specialty retailer Pier 1 Imports is laying off 175 positions in a cost-cutting measure.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based company will eliminate 75 administration positions in the company’s field offices and 100 jobs at its headquarters.

The company says its goal is to return the company to profitability. Pier 1 estimates that the move will generate annualized savings of about $17 million.

Elaine Rigoli has nearly 15 years of experience managing content and community for various B2B and consumer websites. Elaine has written thousands of business and technology articles and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and eWeek, among other publications.

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