Spiegel to Shut VA Call Center

Spiegel is closing its Hampton, VA, call center, which employs 550 workers. The Virginia Employment Commission on July 22 announced that the Spiegel Group TeleServices division will file a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act notice, probably this week. The 60-day advance notice is required when companies intend to have sizable layoffs. The call center is expected to close by the end of the year as part of Spiegel’s bankruptcy proceedings. The company filed for Chapter 11 in March 2003 and sold its namesake and Newport News catalogs earlier this summer.

“As we align our organization based on the sales of Spiegel catalog and Newport News,” says Spiegel spokesperson Debbie Koopman, “this facility is no longer needed to serve the business. The center will continue to provide some services during the transition period. We expect to cease operations by year end but it will be a gradual process.”

Spiegel’s largest property, $1.3 billion apparel cataloger/retailer Eddie Bauer, remains on the block. Why is it taking so long to sell the property? Koopman says that Bauer wasn’t formally put on the block until April of this year. “When you look at the process you go through when you’re soliciting interest,” she says, “I wouldn’t say this has been out of the norm. It’s typical in this kind of a process. From the day we filed bankruptcy there was speculation. You had L.L. Bean out there saying they were interested, but the company was never officially up for sale until we made the announcement in April.”

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