1-800-Flowers.com Mum on Reported Layoffs at Plow & Hearth

Jan 29, 2009 3:53 AM  By

Home decor merchant Plow and Hearth reportedly laid off at least 45 workers in two rounds last week. And according to a report from Madison County, VA, news television station NBC29, more job cuts are expected at the cataloger.

But parent company 1-800-Flowers.com would not confirm the job loss specifics. When contacted, spokesperson Joe Pititto referred to a statement 1-800-Flowers.com had prepared on Monday:

“In the past fiscal year 1-800-Flowers.com has demonstrated its ability to leverage its business platform to reduce operating expense ratio, even in a retail environment in which revenue growth has been challenging. Based on the significant and continuing weakness in the consumer economy, the company is accelerating its efforts to identify and implement additional cost savings measures, as we scale our business appropriate to the economic environment in which we operate.”

1-800-Flowers.com today released a statement referring to “a downsizing of our Home and Children’s Gifts business category including a reduction in catalog marketing and resizing of this business in accordance with the continuing weakness in the home decor retail sector. It also mentioned “a 10% reduction in our salaried, full-time labor force implemented at the beginning of January, as well as reductions in our variable labor commensurate with lower order volumes.”

The company’s revenue for its fiscal second quarter ended Dec. 28, fell 1.5% to $329.3 million, compared with $334.2 million for the prior year. Net income for the quarter was $14.9 million, compared with $19.3 million for the period in 2007. Net income was adjusted to include a one-time, non-cash charge of approximately $20 million related to the write-down of goodwill and other intangibles associated with the home and children’s gifts business segment.

In addition to its namesake business and Plow & Hearth, 1-800-Flowers.com includes the HearthSong, The Popcorn Factory, Magic Cabin Dolls and Cheryl & Co. catalogs. The Carle Place, NY-based company last May acquired gift baskets merchant DesignPac Gifts.