Suffolk center weathers QVC layoffs

Published 10:52 pm Friday, November 14, 2008

International retailer and home-shopping channel QVC announced Wednesday it will trim 160 positions in an effort to weather the country’s economic downturn.

Fewer than five employees from QVC’s Suffolk Distribution Center were let go.

“Overall the most impact is here in Pennsylvania,” said Tara Hunter, a spokesperson for QVC.

Email newsletter signup

She said Suffolk would actually see an increase in product volume at its center, due to the closure of the company’s West Chester, Pa. distribution center.

The Suffolk location, which currently distributes some beauty, home and jewelry lines, will be distributing all QVC home products – electronics, linens, home décor and so on.

“We’re anticipating it will provide the opportunity for additional work hours for team members if they want the hours,” Hunter said.

QVC announced the layoffs along with a plan of initiatives to help ensure the company operates as efficiently as possible. Under the new plan, QVC will eliminate about 900 positions within the next year, while creating 200 new positions at its Florence Distribution Center in South Carolina.

According to a QVC press release, the changes will help save the company $30 million to $40 million in operating costs.

“I had hoped we could avoid layoffs as we pursued our long-term growth strategies, but after witnessing the continuing deterioration in the economy, I came to the reluctant conclusion that this was not going to be possible,” QVC President and CEO Mike George said in a prepared statement.

“While we did our best to minimize the number of job reductions today, we lost many valued team members who were instrumental in building our business.”

With so few employees immediately affected here, the Suffolk facility fared relatively well in the current round of belt-tightening.

“Layoffs are hard no matter what the number,” Hunter said, “but they were fewer than five in the Suffolk facility. And programming hasn’t been interrupted; live operation, our shipping, nothing has changed … there’s no interruption to the customer at all.”