“Our goal is to bring the staff back but right now, it’s like a free fall."
It ain’t just the over-seventies being thrown into brick walls after a Chinese wet market loosed the mother of all killer bugs.
In the biggest worldwide economic contraction since the Great Depression, businesses, and yeah that includes surf, are being forced to take unprecedented decisions to at least attempt to stay alive a few more months.
Volcom, the brand formerly owned by Gucci but now owned by Britney Spears and Paris Hilton’s one-time favourite tracksuit brand Juicy Couture, has “furloughed” three-quarters of its US staff and nearly all of its European workers.
“On Friday, all the US workers went in to get stuff to work from home,” a BeachGrit source said. “When they got home and set up their computers they got the news.”
“We are being proactive across the board because we don’t believe that the market is going to turn around anytime soon and we owe it our employees to not manage the business with optimism,” Volcom told SES in a statement. “This virus and associated actions are moving so fast that one day feels like a decade, so we had to react swiftly.”
“Approximately 75% of U.S. staff is furloughed and nearly 100% of the European is staff furloughed. The U.S. company is paying all benefit costs and paying out paid time off accruals if requested. The staff will be eligible for unemployment. The EU staff is accessing their governments’ social benefits.”
“Our goal is to bring the staff back but right now, it’s like a free fall. Our offices and retail stores in U.S. and EU are closed until it’s safe to reopen.”
To try to raise cash, Volcom is currently offering a 40% off sitewide sale. Many retailers and brands are doing the same thing. For example, Nordstrom is 25% off sitewide, something it rarely does. Tilly’s is also 20% of sitewide, and PacSun is up to 30% off. O’Neill Clothing is 30% off sitewide. Katin is 25% off sitewide.
There is likely much more of this to come as brands and retailers deal with huge drops in revenue and elevated inventories.
The Volcom team sent us this comment about why they are running the 40% off sale.
“We are taking the appropriate measures to make sure any part of our business that is open remains competitive in this volatile environment. We have always been transparent with our wholesale partners and that will not change moving forward. We are all facing the impacts of this global pandemic that is moving at an unprecedented speed and therefore nearly impossible to get ahead of. We would expect our partners to act accordingly.”
“We have a skeleton crew at our distribution center to keep what little orders we have going out to our wholesale partners and consumers. The crew is taking careful measures to keep safe.”