(Bloomberg) -- North Face owner VF Corp. laid off about 500 salaried employees amid a new transformation plan that includes cost cutting and debt reduction.

Denver-based VF has been working to turn the business around as sales slump in North America, due largely to struggles at its Vans brand. It’s also been a target of two activist investor groups, one of which is pressuring the company to divest some brands and pay down debt. VF also owns Timberland, Dickies, JanSport and Supreme, among other labels. 

In October, VF withdrew its guidance for the fiscal year and said it will replace the president of Vans. It also introduced the transformation plan, which is expected to drive $300 million of cost savings.

VF had 33,000 total employees as of April, 60% of whom work full time. 

“While these decisions are never easy, they will give us the financial flexibility to invest behind our brands and better position us for long-term growth,” a VF spokesperson said in a statement.

The shares have fallen about 40% since the start of the year, compared with a 17% gain for the Russell 3000 Index.  

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