HarperCollins, which laid off a "small number" of workers last fall, is taking more drastic steps to reduce its workforce, and plans to cut 5% of its employees in North America by the end of the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. Some jobs were eliminated today.
In a memo to employees, HC CEO Brian Murray wrote that the sales surge the industry and HarperCollins experienced during the pandemic has “slowed significantly as of late.” He pointed to problems at Amazon as the primary factor behind declines in sales and earnings in the quarter ended September 30, but noted that a hoped-for rebound has not occurred in the current quarter: “we must pause to recognize the depth of the core issues we currently face,” he wrote, at what he described as “what he called “a critical juncture for the organization.”
In addition to lagging demand, Murray pointed to “unprecedented supply chain and inflationary pressures caused by the pandemic, including increasing paper, manufacturing, labor, and distribution costs.” While HC has “adjusted prices and curtailed non-essential expenses,” Murray said, “more needs to be done.”
HC has a worldwide workforce of about 4,000, with its largest operations located in the U.S. and Canada. The news of the layoffs comes a few days after HC said it had agreed to work with a mediator in an attempt to end the ongoing strike by some 240 union members.