Did you hear?... Burton Corp. experiences first layoffs in 25-year history

Burton Corp. experienced Wednesday the snowboard company's first layoffs of its 25-year history, as the company downsized by 10 percent.

Burton Corp. experienced Wednesday the snowboard company's first layoffs of its 25-year history, as the company downsized by 10 percent. Forty-five employees were given their walking papers from the company's Burlington, Vt., headquarters with an additional 15 positions coming from company offices in Austria and Japan. Burton had a reported 620 employees worldwide prior to the layoffs, with 450 in the company headquarters. Layoffs are coming primarily from sales and financial service staff and a few recently hired production workers, according to the company. Back office functions for all four of Burton's brands -- Burton, Red, Anon, and Gravis -- are now being consolidated. Product development and marketing for each brand, however, will remain as separate functions. In a prepared statement, company founder and president Jake Burton stated, "If the market is telling us that this is what it takes to continue to develop the best and most innovative products out there, we have to sacrifice and streamline."
® View: Although the privately held company will not release sales figures, our intelligence says the company commands an approximate 30 percent share of the worldwide market which means it grosses between $100 million and $110 million annually. Our notes from conversations at SIA 2001 also showed the company was expecting sales to increase at least 10 to 15 percent this year -- an increase that did not happen in part due to Sept. 11, in part due to the economy, and in part due to the poor weather conditions. SIA retail sales report figures just released showed snowboard sales declined 30 percent in chain stores, canceling out the 9.8 percent increase realized at the specialty store level. Retailers, as a consequence, are left sitting on inventory which means reorders will not be strong. That, coupled with the decline in sales, has hit hard and will continue to hit Burton's bottom line.


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