Nike Will Lay Off 500 Workers at Its Beaverton World Headquarters

Nike’s sales have been hammered by the coronavirus as it shut down most of its retail stores.

Nike protest on Dec. 9, 2019. (Wesley Lapointe)

Nike informed the state of Oregon last week that it plans to lay off at least 500 employees at its Beaverton headquarters.

The sportswear giant, Oregon's flagship company, sent a July 23 notice to state employment officials that it will begin making layoffs Oct. 1. The letter was made public by the state today and first reported by the The Oregonian.

"This permanent reduction in workforce includes members of Nike's corporate leadership team and some corresponding executive assistants," the letter says.

Oregon companies that employ more than 100 workers must file worker adjustment and retraining notification filings, or WARN notices, when they make significant layoffs. The plans disclosed by Nike rank among Oregon's largest mass layoffs of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The notice says Nike's layoffs will include the permanent closure of two child care centers at its world headquarters.

Nike's sales have been hammered by the coronavirus as it shut down most of its retail stores. In June, it reported a quarterly net loss of $790 million and a year-over-year sales decline of 38%.

The company last week announced a shake-up of its senior leadership in what it described as a "digital transformation"—essentially seeking to emphasize online sales, which were up 75% in the last quarter.

Greg Rossiter, a company spokesman, tells WW the reorganization will mean staffing cuts.

"We are building a flatter, nimbler company and transforming Nike faster to define the marketplace of the future," he says. "And through this next phase of our strategy, we we'll unlock long-term growth and profitability by aligning against our highest growth and market share opportunities.

"While we aren't disclosing the number of people impacted in these operating model shifts, the changes are expected to lead to a net loss of jobs, which is always difficult. Through this process, we're leading with our values and are committed to acting with compassion and respect for our employees."

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