Chico’s cuts jobs in ‘significant restructuring’

Reporter: Morgan Rynor Writer: Jackie Winchester
A Chico's store. Photo via WINK News.
Credit: WINK News

Chico’s confirmed deep job cuts on Thursday, both locally and nationwide.

The Fort Myers-based fashion company filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission outlining what it calls a “significant restructuring.”

In late January, Chico’s management celebrated the opening of brand new Chico’s, Soma, and White House Black Market stores in south Fort Myers. Weeks later, those stores closed – along with 1,000-plus other stores nationwide.

Now, the pandemic has sparked the company’s second shakeup in a year, which includes a lot of layoffs.

Chico’s said in its SEC filing that despite COVID-19, the company has posted one of its fastest turnarounds in fashion retail.

The company said it has experienced three consecutive quarters to unprecedented growth, with a 9.4 percent increase in sales.

Yet, in the same filing, Chico’s announced a “significant restructure of the overall organization.”

Local economist John Silvia is not surprised Chico’s is reorganizing, especially in these very challenging economic times.

“I don’t see how the retail sector will be able to keep all of their employees. They’ll probably lose 5, maybe 10 percent of their employees,” he said.

I think for a lot of companies, they’re going to have to scale back. They’re going to have to really focus on cost.”

Chico’s said in its filing it will save $30 million by eliminating high-ranking officers and leadership positions in the field and at its Lee County headquarters.

At the start of 2019, Chico’s employed 1,100 people locally. Management will not say how many they now have on their workforce.

The company’s stock finished trading Thursday at just $1.50 a share.

The shakeup at Chico’s goes all the way to the top. CEO Bonnie Brooks will become the executive chair of the board of directors, and Molly Langenstein will take over as CEO in June.

She joined Chico’s nine months ago from Naples.

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