By and  on January 27, 2009

Quiksilver Inc., the Huntington Beach, Calif.-based board sport behemoth, said Monday it will lay off 150 employees and leave 50 positions unfilled in its Americas division. The cuts represent 4 percent of Quiksilver’s 3,555 employees in the Americas division, which includes retail, distribution and brands such as DC Shoes and Roxy in the U.S. and Canadian markets. Quiksilver said the trims are part of an initiative to reduce expenses in the Americas division by more than 10 percent, or about $40 million annually. The restructuring will result in an estimated charge of $5 million in the company’s fiscal first quarter ending Jan. 31. Shares of the company soared before the announcement Monday, gaining 46.4 percent to close at $2.21. The layoffs follow the Jan. 13 resignation of Marty Samuels as president of Quiksilver Americas. Craig Stevenson, global president of the Quiksilver brand and president of Quiksilver’s South Asia Pacific business, replaced Samuels as interim president. Three days later, Quiksilver cut the annual salaries of its top executives, including that for chief executive officer and president Bob McKnight, by 5 percent. Quiksilver has been shifting the focus of the Americas division back to its core businesses after selling Roger Cleveland Golf Co. and the Rossignol ski business. Footwear News reported Friday that VF Corp. was considering buying DC Shoes from Quiksilver, which in turn was a possible acquisition target for Nike Inc. “Everything is still on the table....There are a lot of different ways to raise capital and improve our capital structure,” said Quiksilver spokesman Joshua Katz. Also Monday, L.L. Bean said it is trying to avoid laying off 75 to 100 people by freezing wages and salaries for its 5,400 employees this year. In addition, starting at the end of next month through April, the company will offer early retirement incentives to employees 55 or older who have been with the company for five years or more, a spokeswoman said.

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