Fingerhut offers workers paid leave

In the latest installment of the Fingerhut saga, the general merchandise cataloger has offered some employees paid leave with full benefits. “The work has slowed down considerably,” says spokesperson Ben Saukko. “We don’t want to start any new products or new catalogs until we know what’s going on.”

On Jan. 16, parent company Federated Department Stores announced that it would close the core Fingerhut catalog before the end of the year unless a buyer is found. What was expected to be the last Fingerhut catalog was scheduled to mail at the end of January. Federated has also put Fingerhut subsidiaries Arizona Mail Order and Figi’s on the block, but it intends to operate those catalogs until they are sold.

Cincinnati-based Federated is in discussions with several potential Fingerhut buyers. And this week Federated and Fingerhut officials met with Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura, who had been on vacation to “exchange ideas and information,” according to a spokesperson. The Fingerhut employees who were placed on paid leave are among the undisclosed number of workers who were given the 60-day notice required under the federal Worker Adjustment Retaining and Notification Act that their jobs could end, Saukko said.