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Sears Holdings slashes 115 corporate jobs

BY HBSDealer Staff

In its next round of cost-cutting moves, Sears Holdings has issued a layoff of 115 of its corporate employees, according to Crain's Chicago Business.

Of the 115 employees, 100 of the cuts will affect those working at the company's Hoffman Estates headquarters, with the remaining 15 at corporate support locations elsewhere in the U.S. They were also largely scattered across the company's 30 business units.

Crain's reported that there's speculation that consumer electronic buying jobs have been cut, as the retailer has previously pointed out its flagging electronics sales. However, a Sears spokesman denied the claim.

The layoffs are part of a larger narrative involving the struggling retailer's attempts to return to profitability.

The company has also recently laid off thousands of its retail employees, shuttered a significant number of its stores, and taken out loans from CEO Edward Lampert's hedge fund.

Sears Holdings said it would provide outplacement services and severance to those who are eligible.

Currently, there are about 5,000 people employed at the Sears Holdings headquarters.

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HBSDealer Stock Watch: Down a few CENTs

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Stocks were seeking shelter from the cold on Tuesday as Juno pummeled the Northeast, though Central Garden & Pet (CENT) felt the weather most acutely.

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Consumer confidence soars to highest level since 2007

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Consumer confidence steamrolled ahead in January to its highest level since 2007, breaking 100 to its current standing at 102.9.

January's reading, which pushed ahead of the 100 benchmark calibrated to 1985 levels, is up from 93.1 in December, according to The Conference Board.

“Consumer confidence rose sharply in January, and is now at its highest level since August 2007 (Index, 105.6)," said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. "A more positive assessment of current business and labor market conditions contributed to the improvement in consumers’ view of the present situation. Consumers also expressed a considerably higher degree of optimism regarding the short-term outlook for the economy and labor market, as well as their earnings.”

Reflecting Franco's statement, the Present Situation Index was up much more significantly than overall confidence, rising from 99.9 to 112.6. A notably larger amount of consumers described business conditions as "good" this month, with those describing them as "bad" edging down a bit too. Consumers were also more confident regarding the availability of jobs all around.

Meanwhile, the Expectations Index jumped from 88.5 to 96.4. There was a marginal improvement of 0.6% in those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months, while those expecting them to worsen declined from 9.9% to 7.7%.

Additionally, there was a 2.1% jump in those expecting more jobs in the months ahead, with the number of consumers expecting growth in their incomes jumping from 16.2% to 20.0%. Then again, there were also more consumers who expected a decrease — 11.3%, compared to last month's 10.2%.

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