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May 21, 2020

Canada Goose lays off 125 workers in 'difficult, but responsible' cuts

Retail roundup: Canada Goose announces layoffs, Winners wins for TJX

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More retailers have announced layoffs and store closures at their Canadian operations as they continue to grapple with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canada Goose Holdings Inc. announced Wednesday it would lay off 125 employees, or about 2.5 per cent of its more than 5,000-person workforce. It did not answer questions about where the laid off employees worked or how many were in Canada.

It was a "difficult, but responsible decision," the company said in a statement and comes after it has taken several steps to address the business impacts of the coronavirus.

The Toronto-based retailer closed its North American and European retail stores on March 17, joining a wave of government mandated and voluntary store closures to help curb the spread of the virus.

CEO Dani Reiss said at that time he would forgo his salary for at least three months and the money would instead be used to help the company's employees.

Canada Goose suspended the long-term outlook it initially provided in May 2019 as it did not account for the coronavirus pandemic, and reiterated its new outlook for the 2020 financial year that it noted at its last quarterly earnings in February.

"The extent and duration of COVID-19 disruptions remain uncertain and they may negatively impact future fiscal periods more significantly," the company said in March.

Canada Goose says it is committed to support laid off employees with what it called fair compensation packages, extended benefits, a letter of reference from the CEO and other assistance.

Meanwhile, American retailer L Brands announced Wednesday it will reduce the number of company-owned Victoria's Secret stores and close about 250 in the U.S. and Canada this year.

The company plans to go from 33 Victoria's Secret stores in Canada at the start of this year to 23, according to a forecast in its financial documents, and reduce its PINK-brand stores, which target post-secondary women, from five to two.