QVC cutting 372 workers at Chesapeake call center
CHESAPEAKE, Mar 29, 2012 (The Virginian-Pilot - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Almost 400 workers at QVC Inc.'s call center in the Greenbrier area will lose their jobs within the next year, as the home-shopping network takes more and more orders via electronic devices and fewer over the phone, a company spokesman said Thursday.
QVC, the cable-television and online retailer based in West Chester, Pa., told employees this week about the layoffs, said Paul Capelli, a company spokesman. The cuts include 263 regularly scheduled part-time workers and 109 full-time staff members.
Another 230 "on-call" employees, who work less than 20 hours a week as needed and not on regular hours, also are losing their jobs. All of the workers affected handle telephone orders, Capelli said.
"QVC sales continue to grow, but we're seeing an increased number of sales that are placed through digital platforms," he said.
Customers increasingly make purchases online, on smartphones and on their iPads and other e-tablets, Capelli said. Mobile devices now account for about 5 percent of total sales, while the number of orders placed by phone has dropped about 20 percent in the past two years, he said.
The on-call workers will be phased out between now and June 4, Capelli said. QVC will work with the part-time and full-time staff to gradually reduce their hours over the next year, until April 2013.
"Some of these folks we're talking about are work-from-home people," Capelli said.
All of the terminated employees will receive "separation pay," Capelli said. The regular part- and full-time workers can choose to leave immediately and receive an "enhanced" separation package with severance pay, extended health care benefits and job-placement services, he said.
The Chesapeake center, at 1553 N. River Birch Run, will continue to employ workers who handle customer service calls, Capelli said. He did not immediately have a total number of those who will remain.
QVC, owned by media company Liberty Interactive Corp., also has call centers in San Antonio, Texas, and St. Lucie, Fla. Neither of those locations is having layoffs, Capelli said.
QVC sells clothing and accessories, beauty products and home decor through its cable home-shopping network and its website. The retailer also operates a distribution center in Suffolk.
Carolyn Shapiro, (757) 446-2270, email@example.com
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