MILAN — After a 10-hour meeting, Brioni reached an agreement with trade unions to approve a voluntary layoff for 140 full-time employees at the brand’s factories in the Abruzzo region.
According to a company spokesman, the Italian men’s wear firm will offer about 32,000 euros, or $36,435, to those voluntarily leaving their jobs. Brioni is working on finding a balance between its workforce and its production volume, which has declined sharply over the past few years.
In addition, all employees will work 32 hours a week instead of 40 hours. This will allow Brioni to cut a lower number of jobs than originally expected. Former requests to trade unions involved laying off about 400 employees.
If less than 140 full-time employees voluntarily resign, Brioni will have to proceed with layoffs.
Brioni, which manufactures about 30,000 items a year, expects to increase its production volume to 33,000 pieces starting from 2018.
The Italian men’s luxury brand initially revealed plans in early March to reduce its headcount.
At the time a spokesman told WWD, “It’s about making the business sustainable. The imbalance between the headcount and number of pieces produced by the company was already evident in 2012, when Kering acquired it.”
He explained that, after the 2008 economic crisis, customers’ needs changed and they focused more on different fashion segments, such as casualwear and sportswear.
As WWD reported in February, a Milan-based analyst said revenues at Brioni last year dropped by 20 million euros, or $22.2 million at average exchange, to 190 million euros, or $211 million, attributable to the struggles at the wholesale level, and claimed the firm was operating at a loss with negative earnings before interest and taxes.
In February, Brioni parted ways with creative director Brendan Mullane and last month appointed former MyTheresa women’s buying director Justin O’Shea, who has no design experience, as his successor. Bottega Veneta executive Gianluca Flore took over as Brioni’s chief executive officer in fall 2014. Flore succeeded Francesco Pesci, who guided the company for almost 15 years.