FRESNO -- Gottschalks Inc. has laid off about two dozen employees at its Fresno corporate office this month in a move to cut costs.
Jim Famalette, Gottschalks’ chairman and chief executive, confirmed the layoffs Monday. The department store chain posted a loss of $12.4 million in the 2007 fiscal year and has reported declining sales in 2008 as it struggles amidst a weakening economy.
"Until the economy shows signs of strength, we're going to cautiously manage our costs," Famalette said. "We think this makes the company more efficient and stronger."
Famalette said the majority of those laid off were hourly employees. One senior executive — Tricia Bowlby, former vice president of marketing — was laid off because Gottschalks has outsourced its marketing functions to a third party, he said.
Famalette declined to name others laid off. Bowlby declined to comment when reached by phone Monday.
Famalette said the company did not have more layoff plans to announce at this time. The company intended to report the savings associated with the layoffs in its first quarter 2008 earnings report set to be released May 29, he said.
Gottschalks, which operates 59 stores in six western states, most of them in California, has posted monthly sales declines this year that have exceeded declines at many of its larger department store competitors.
The company has also put on hold until 2009 its plans to build new stores, except one being built in Bend, Ore. The company plans to close two stores this year, one in Moreno Valley and one in Bakersfield.