Grill maker Weber is planning a 10% “reduction of force” in its management staff after reporting a 21% drop in sales Monday (Aug. 15).
It’s part of a larger cost-management strategy the company is undertaking as it struggles with a range of factors hampering its revenues, Interim CEO Alan Matula said during the company’s third-quarter earnings report.
Read more: Weber Continues Slide in Q2
According to the company’s Q3 earnings report, Weber saw a net loss of $52 million compared to net income of $18 million in the prior-year quarter.
This followed a second quarter in which the company reported a net loss of $51 million year over year and a 6% decline in net sales.
“The outdoor cooking sector is contracting in the near term,” Matula said on a conference call with investors. A 10-year veteran of Weber, Matula became the company’s interim chief executive last month following the departure of CEO Chris Scherzinger.
Speaking Monday, Matula said that the Russian-Ukraine war, coupled with ongoing supply chain issues and inflation, continues to impede spending. Foot traffic has fallen at North American home improvement retailers, Matula said, leading to a 26% decline in grill sales overall.
In addition, people are grilling less this summer, thanks in part to major heatwaves throughout the country and an increase in summer travel.
Matula said the reduction of force will affect 10% of the company’s headcount worldwide. Weber Chief Financial Officer Bill Horton said it is aimed at the company’s “non-manufacturing and distribution headcount.” Weber says the reduction is designed to “remove management layers” from the company.
“Reducing headcount is our last resort,” but is “our most prudent choice,” Horton said.
The past few months have seen Weber take a number of other steps to increase sales, such as working with influencers — the company itself has about 4 million social media followers, per Monday’s presentation — launching an “Ambassadors” program with celebrity chefs, and deepening partnerships with other retailers, such as Best Buy, Costco and Amazon.
The company’s presentation Monday spoke of these partnerships as part of a broader omnichannel strategy that also includes its direct-to-consumer platform and eCommerce sales via Amazon and Wayfair.
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