FINGERHUT ELIMINATES 250 JOBS

NEW YORK — The Fingerhut division of Federated Department Stores Inc. will close its Duluth, Minn., call center, eliminating 250 jobs.
As reported, Federated in October revealed plans to fix the ailing catalog and e-commerce business, which would eliminate 550 positions — almost a quarter of its staff. Layoffs in key Minnesota facilities in October and this month were to account for about 350 of the positions eliminated. The balance of the cutback came from 200 vacancies left unfilled by the company.
Layoffs were to come at Fingerhut’s Minnetonka, Minn., headquarters, the Plymouth data center and the e-commerce office in Edina. Some staff in merchandising, creative, marketing, finance and human resources were also facing workforce reductions.
The last day of work at the center will be Feb. 2, a day before the close of the company’s fiscal year. By that time, the Federated division expects to have spent $75 million to $100 million on the down sizing — causing annual overhead expenses to be reduced by $40 million going forward.
Some of the work that was done at the call center will be shifted to other nearby facilities.
In addition to personnel reductions, the company is also tightening credit standards, reducing the size of its e-commerce site and catalog, carrying fewer stockkeeping units and concentrating on better-paying customers.
Fingerhut will also de-emphasize non-retailing activities, such as business-to-business fulfillment services and its e-commerce equity investment strategy.

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