Nike says HQ layoffs will hit 700 by January, up 200 from prior forecast

Nike CEO John Donahoe

Nike CEO John Donahoe. Mark Graves

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Nike said Monday that it expects to eliminate 700 jobs at its headquarters near Beaverton by early January, part of a broader restructuring the company announced last summer.

The footwear and apparel company had previously pegged its Oregon layoffs at roughly 500. The 700 cutbacks announced Monday, in a brief legal filing with state workforce officials, includes that prior tally and so expands the total number of job losses by 200.

Oregon’s jobless rate climbed from 3.5% in the months before the pandemic to 8.0% in September as the recession took hold. Nike’s layoffs, though, aren’t a response to the weaker economy – the company’s sales and profits are strong. Rather, Oregon’s largest business is changing strategies.

Nike announced in July that it will spend up to $250 million cutting jobs worldwide as new CEO John Donahoe refocuses its business to emphasize online sales directly to consumers. The company employed 75,400 at the end of May, down 1,600 from a year earlier. Nike employs about 13,000 at its headquarters campus.

“We are building a flatter, nimbler company and transforming Nike faster to define the marketplace of the future," Nike said in a statement Monday.

“The changes are expected to lead to a net loss of jobs, which is always difficult,” the company said. "Through this process, we are leading with our values and are committed to acting with compassion and respect for our employees.”

The company hasn’t said how many jobs it will cut altogether. Its Oregon layoffs include 200 at its company childcare center, which is closing permanently.

Nike’s layoffs began last summer with the dismissal of more than 100 vice presidents. In October, it began cutting upper-level managers.

Nike’s new business strategy, “Consumer Direct Acceleration,” shifts its sales from third-party retailers in favor of more profitable sales channels the company controls itself. Nike has restructured to focus on three product categories – men’s, women’s and kids.

The early days of the coronavirus pandemic knocked Nike off its footing, but the company’s business has recovered strongly since then.

The company reported in October that quarterly sales during the summer months totaled $10.6 billion, roughly even with the prior year. Quarterly profits climbed from $1.4 billion a year ago to $1.5 billion in the most recent quarter.

Nike shares closed Monday at $122.39, up 1.9% and just a tad below an all-time high off $131 in mid-October.

-- Mike Rogoway | | twitter: @rogoway | 503-294-7699

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