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Boo.com fires 70 staff

Normal post-Christmas headcount reduction

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Boo.com, the extravagently funded online sportswear retailer, beat all other pure "e-tailers" in a Credit Suisse First Boston 1999 Holiday E-Commerce Capability survey. Most customer phone inquiries were answered by Boo.com's multi-lingual 24-hour customer service department within an average of three rings, CSFB found. Maybe because there wasn't so much work for them to do: Boo.com fired 70 employees in New York and Europe on Tuesday (25 January), with editorial staff and customer service reps taking the brunt, the Industry Standard reveals. In an interview with the paper, Jay Herratti, president of Boo.com North America, said the layoffs were normal post-Christmas "headcount reduction". So they were seasonal staff, then? Seasonal hiring is a well-established practice in the fashion industry -- each winter, for example, LL Bean, the iconic Maine mail-order clothes manufacturer/retailer, takes on thousands of people to handle its Christmas sales stampede. But Boo.com? Shouldn't this company still be in explosive quarter-on-quarter growth mode? Boo.com says the editorial staff are leaving, following a re-evaluation of strategy. This is reasonable enough: unlike the departure of customer sales reps. The layoffs are not an indication that the company needs to cut costs, Herratti told the Industry Standard. "We were very pleased with Christmas. Our investors were very pleased," he said. The company has announced its intention to discount goods, by up to 40 per cent, for the first time. Boo.com's original decision to sell sportswear at list price (to keep manufacturers sweet) was, quite frankly, astonishing. ® Related Stories Electronics giants, fashion houses bar online discounting Consumers reject clothes shopping online Only five months late for Boo.com launch

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