- Lord & Taylor has notified the state of Pennsylvania of a planned layoff affecting 202 workers from its distribution center on Highland Park Boulevard in Wilkes-Barre Township, the Times Tribune reported last week.
- Hudson's Bay, which owns the department store, said some of the employees will transfer to a facility in Pottsville.
- Employees who do not transfer will receive severance packages.
Post-holiday warehouse positions are traditionally unstable, though e-commerce demand has improved retention rates for workers.
Holiday hiring competition among e-commerce fulfillment centers versus traditional retailers has grown in recent years, with the probability of an ongoing position growing less and less likely for retail staff. As a result, more seasonal workers have jumped ship, preferring to work with busy warehouses or logistics centers.
But sometimes, companies move fulfillment operations to improve delivery rates and efficiency, and there's a human cost.
"To clarify, the Wilkes-Barre location is not closing — only the Lord & Taylor e-commerce fulfillment operations are moving to the new Pottsville Distribution Center," Chantal Richard, Manager of Corporate Communications for Hudson's Bay restated in a comment to Supply Chain Dive.
Kroger did something similar in November: by switching 3PLs for one distribution center in Texas, 690 warehouse workers were laid off, but many were rehired by Penske (the 3PL taking over).
As e-commerce growth accelerates, companies may continue to move around their fulfillment operations to better serve the consumer and widen profit margins. Lord & Taylor's move and subsequent layoff isn't the first, and won't be the last.