NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - Discovery Communications
announced on Thursday that it will close its 103 stand-alone
and mall-based retail stores, cutting 1,000 jobs, or 25 percent
of the company's global workforce, in the process.
The move is the latest cost-cutting measure from new
president and CEO David Zaslav, who eliminated another 200 jobs
at Discovery Communications in April and replaced a handful of
senior executives in February, a month after he joined the
Zaslav has been leading a company-wide strategic review
aimed at eliminating underperforming divisions of the company
while shoring up those that have the most growth potential. The
Discovery Stores lose approximately $30 million a year,
according to a company executive.
Discovery said that to sell its products, it will continue
to develop partnerships with large retailers and work on
strengthening its successful e-commerce activities. The company
said its e-commerce operations posted record sales and growth
in 2006 and are up 144 percent year-to-date. It said
DiscoveryStore.com has more than 12 million unique visitors
annually and also reaches consumers through partnerships with
Amazon.com and eBay.
"By eliminating our owned-and-operated brick-and-mortar
storefronts, which are cost-intensive and complicated
businesses, Discovery can focus its efforts on high growth
e-commerce and licensing operations," Zaslav said.
Discovery said the closure of its stores will be completed
by the end of the third quarter. It will retain Gordon Brothers
Group, an advisory, restructuring and investment firm, to
facilitate the liquidation.