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Online pet goods retailer Chewy lays off 200+ employees

Chewy, the online pet supplies company that sold to PetSmart in 2017 for $3.35 billion, but then split off a few years later, is the latest company to undergo layoffs, TechCrunch has learned. According to multiple sources, the pet supplier has laid off over 200 employees — a figure Chewy confirmed — including those in its Plantation, Florida headquarters, and other sites. The company is dually headquartered in both Florida and Boston, with offices in Minneapolis and Bellevue, as well.

Chewy confirmed the layoffs took place across multiple locations and said the number of people impacted was north of 200.

According to various sources, we understand that the impacted roles spanned HR, recruiting, data, and business intelligence, and even included some directors and higher managers, including a Vice President. Chewy didn’t confirm the job roles it eliminated, but there is talk of the headcount reductions on discussion forums like Blind, where users are reporting Chewy reduced its headcount by 220 people, and noted the reductions included some engineers, developers, product managers, and supply chain personnel.

The company is said to be providing a minimum of one month’s severance with additional weeks based on tenure, these users said.

Chewy confirmed the layoffs in a statement.

“As we head into 2024, we took the opportunity to consolidate some of our headcount and align our efforts into priorities which we believe will gain us the most significant customer wins and generate the highest business returns, to enable us to strengthen the company’s future,” said Chewy spokesperson, Diane Pelkey. “This was a difficult decision that was carefully considered as part of our overall strategy and ongoing focus on becoming an ever more agile and disciplined company. We are grateful to our team members for their contributions and remain committed to supporting them during this transition,” she added.

Though Chewy reported a surprise profit of 4 cents per share in its most recent quarter on revenue of $2.78 billion, analysts were concerned over the declining active users of the e-commerce site, which fell from 20.49 million in the year-ago quarter to 20.39 million.

Chewy CEO Sumit Singh had also expressed concerns over how inflation was impacting its business, creating more cautious consumers who were now buying lower-priced items, like dry dog food, instead of wet food and were pulling back on buying pet treats.

“Coming out of the summer months, we are sensing a shift in consumer mindset toward being more discernible and, at the same time, with a higher willingness to consolidate their share of wallet to their trusted retailer of choice,” Singh said on a call with investors. “This behavior is driven by a more fluid macro environment, including high levels of inflation, which have been passed through the industry over the past 18 months. Our dialog with our suppliers confirms that these trends are permeating throughout the pet industry,” he noted.

Chewy was earlier acquired by BC Partners, which also bought PetSmart for $8.7 billion in March 2015. Chewy went public in 2019 and BC Partners later split up PetSmart and Chewy, but remained a large shareholder in Chewy’s business. BC partners sold a minority stake in Petsmart to Apollo earlier this year. (Disclosure: Apollo owns Yahoo, TechCrunch’s parent company.) Also earlier in 2023, an advocacy group asked the Department of Labor to investigate BC Partners’ boards over concerns about overlapping directors — as some directors sat on both the PetSmart and Chewy boards, despite the split.

source: TechCrunch