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Labor Dep. Reports 138,000 Positions Added

Department and specialty stores, along with domestic apparel and textile producers, shed jobs last month.

WASHINGTON —Department and specialty stores, along with domestic apparel and textile producers, shed jobs last month, as the overall economy added a less-than-anticipated 138,000 seasonally adjusted positions, according to the Labor Department’s monthly report on employment issued Friday.

General merchandise stores cut their payrolls by 34,200 to 2.9 million. Within that category, department stores made up almost half of the decline, with a drop of 15,200 jobs for total employment of 1.6 million. Apparel and accessories stores trimmed payrolls by 1,000 to 1.4 million.

Part of the drop in department store employment could stem from the slate of mergers in the area lately, especially the combination of May and Federated Department stores.

“It may very well be that due to consolidation and new technology that the retail trade is becoming even more efficient,” said Fariborz Ghadar, director of the Center for Global Business Studies at Pennsylvania State University.

For complete coverage, see Monday’s WWD.