By Lenore Fedow
A Movado Connect 2.0 timepiece. The watch company is laying off an undisclosed number of employees as part of its new restructuring plan.
Paramus, N.J.—Movado Group plans to lay off employees as part of its new restructuring plan, the company announced in a recent 8-K filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company declined to disclose the number of employees who will be affected.

CEO Efraim Grinberg said in a statement to National Jeweler: “The moves that we have taken, although painful, will enable the company to be better positioned for the future.”

Affected U.S. employees will receive severance packages, outplacement assistance and extended benefit coverage.

The COVID-19 pandemic “caused unprecedented economic and social hardships,” Grinberg said, adding that “these circumstances have led us to reorganize and streamline our teams in order to sustain and secure long-term growth for the business.”

Back in June, Movado announced organizational changes intended to streamline the company and accelerate its digital initiatives.

Behzad Soltani, the current president of direct-to-consumer and chief digital officer, was promoted to executive vice president, commercial president, and chief technology officer.

Current Chief Financial Officer Sallie DeMarsilis was promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer while maintaining her role as CFO.

Grinberg said the new management structure will help unify the company’s distribution channels.

The aim of its overall restructuring is to reduce operating expenses and adjust cash flows, Movado said in the 8-K filing.

The plan is expected to cost between $9 million to $12 million in total with the majority of the money, between $8.5 million and $11 million, going toward employee severance and benefits costs and stock-based compensation charges, as per the filing.

Between $500,000 to $1 million will go to “consolidating facilities,” though a Movado spokesperson said the company has closed its locations only temporarily.

The watch company began reopening stores last month and said during a recent earnings call it expected to have 41 of 47 North American locations open by mid-June.

The majority of the restructuring plan is expected to be implemented in the second quarter of the company’s fiscal year, though Movado noted cash severance will be paid out over time so charges will continue into the next fiscal year.

Movado, like so many other companies, is struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic, temporarily shuttering its stores and furloughing 80 percent of its North American workforce, approximately 850 employees.

Net sales in its recent first quarter fell 53 percent to $69.7 million, compared with $146.5 million a year ago.

Grinberg highlighted the “accelerated shift in the overall business” to digital and e-commerce.

“Although e-commerce sales were strong, they were not nearly enough to offset the declines in our wholesale and company stores businesses,” said CFO DeMarsilis on the earnings call last month.

Looking to the year ahead, DeMarsilis said the company won’t be providing fiscal guidance but it does expect its second quarter to be “significantly impacted by the crisis” with the top line “expected to remain below last year.”

The company also recently borrowed an additional $30 million under its credit agreement to bolster its financial flexibility.

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