Ace Hardware confirmed Feb. 19 that it has laid off 20 corporate employees from various support areas of the company, effective immediately.
“This action was taken to help bring corporate expenditures in line with Ace’s revised bottom line operating expenses, which is compounded by the continued slowdown of both wholesale and retail sales due to the current soft economy and lackluster housing market,” the Oak Brook, Ill.-based company said in a statement to Home Channel News.
“While we regret that these few select positions were eliminated, it will not impact our ability as a company to service our Ace retailers and, in turn, their customers,” the statement said. Although Ace did not specify which positions had been affected, HCN has learned that some of those laid off were field representatives.
One of the former employees who was informed of his termination on Monday said he was told the cuts were related to the company's effort to return equity to $320 million, the co-op's equity level before its $152 million accounting error. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source said various field representative positions were among the cuts.
The announcement comes six months after Ace discovered the shortfall in its accounting books, which the company recently confirmed was the result of discrepancies between its general ledger and inventory records. Ace made no comment about whether the layoffs were related to the shortfall.