St. John spring 2017 campaign

LOS ANGELES — Irvine, Calif., knit house St. John is expected to lay off 130 workers later this month as the company reworks its manufacturing operations.

“We recently adjusted a significant portion of our manufacturing process, and although this change strategically situates the company to meet the future needs of our consumers, it very regrettably resulted in the elimination of some full-time and part-time positions,” the company said.

St. John declined to say what percentage of the overall workforce this represents for the company.

The cuts are being made across six Irvine facilities, with most of those manufacturing positions, according to documents filed with the California Employment Development Department. The layoffs are effective June 26.

Among those jobs impacted are some positions in quality control, knitting machine operators, sewers, cutters and supervisors.

The work, the company said through a spokeswoman, is being shifted to its facility in Mexico as well as contractors in Asia and a Los Angeles area firm.

The privately held company doesn’t disclose financial information. The last reported revenue figure for the company was $325 million in 2013, of which then-interim chief executive officer Bernd Beetz declined to comment on when asked by WWD in 2015. The company in more recent years has focused on a global push of the brand, while also making moves on the design side — such as last year’s relaunch of St. John Sport — in hopes of resonating with consumers who may not be looking for the eveningwear or knit suits for which the company is known.

In 2013, Beetz joined St. John as board chairman after Fosun International, based out of China, made an investment in the company that gave it a minority stake in the business.

Beetz’s appointment was swiftly followed by the hiring of Geoffroy van Raemdonck as ceo. The stint was short with van Raemdonck departing in November of that same year, leaving Beetz to helm the knit house as interim ceo. In early 2015 Beetz brought on Bruce Fetter, who rejoined as president and chief operating officer, and who now also holds the ceo title in addition to his other duties.

St. John confirmed Beetz is no longer involved with the company.

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