June 9, 2017 / 3:16 PM / 3 years ago

Hudson's Bay details restructuring plans, shares hit record lows

TORONTO, June 9 (Reuters) - Canadian department store operator Hudson’s Bay Co on Friday said it would streamline its structure across its various store chains in order to compete in what it called a “brutal” retail environment, while its shares plunged to record lows.

Executives told analysts in a conference call that the company, which operates Hudson’s Bay, Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue and other chains, plans to decrease its number of vendors and move toward a “shared services” structure to standardize processes across department stores.

The shares tumbled C$1.08, or 11.2 percent, to C$8.55, and earlier touched a record low of C$8.44. The company on Thursday had announced a major restructuring plan that included cutting 2,000 positions in North America and reported a wider-than-expected quarterly loss.

“It’s prompted by ... the strong feeling that we need to get ahead of industry conditions ... and start leading this,” said Chief Executive Gerald Storch on Friday, adding that the streamlined structure would help make any future acquisitions easier to integrate.

The company said its team in Europe was also focused on managing costs, but that the restructuring was centered on North America.

Storch said employees in Europe were unionized and the agreement when it purchased the Kaufhof department store chain included limits to job cuts in the first several years of operation. (Reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Meredith Mazzilli)

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