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Saks Lays Out Reasons for Laying Off Staff

Luxury retailer Saks Fifth Avenue is pruning jobs as shoppers continue to shy away from stores.

On Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the upscale merchant told Sourcing Journal that the company has been taking steps to “strategically evolve our business for some time.”

“As a result, we have further evaluated our store functions to ensure we are organized in the most optimal way to serve our customers as their shopping habits and preferences continue to change. With this, we have had to make some role changes and eliminations,” the spokeswoman said, declining to specify how many jobs are affected. “While we understand this is a difficult situation for impacted associates, these shifts are necessary to best position our business for the future.”

The Hudson’s Bay Co.-owned retailer reopened its Manhattan flagship store on Fifth Avenue, marking the final store in its network to throw open its doors following shutdowns induced by the coronavirus pandemic. Much like other retailers, the luxury chain is operating with reduced store hours and has stepped up clean.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, legions of consumers have settled into a rhythm of calling up a website or app to meet their commerce needs, essential or otherwise. A number of retail insiders believe consumers are unlikely to fully revert back to a full reliance on brick and mortar, even as stores reverse their lockdowns. The data backs up this assumption, too. In data provided by Placer.ai, weekly department store store traffic has shown an average decline in the range of 40 percent year over year for the week of July 20.

And with several states struggling to contain a surge in coronavirus infections, plus the expected second wave come fall, shoppers have little reason to abandon the convenience and safety of buying from a distance.