* Workers hit by move to vendors staffing own counters
* Transition to be effective as of Jan. 31.
* Staff to get severance, have right to apply for jobs
* Shares fractionally lower
(Updates story attribution, adds details)
NEW YORK, Dec 16 Saks Inc SKS.N is cutting
116 jobs in the cosmetics and fragrance departments of its
flagship Fifth Avenue store in New York as it moves to get
outside vendors such as Chanel, Lancome and Clinique to fully
staff their Saks counters themselves.
A Saks spokeswoman on Wednesday said the transition would
be effective as of Jan. 31. The affected Saks workers, who are
eligible for severance benefits, can apply for openings in
other departments of the Manhattan store, the luxury retailer
Saks expects that "a number of the affected associates"
will be asked to interview for jobs with the outside vendors.
The spokeswoman said that currently about 70 percent of
workers in the cosmetics and fragrance departments are employed
by outside vendors.
Last January, Saks said it would cut 9 percent of its
workforce as demand for luxury goods declined in a tough U.S.
Saks shares were down 3 cents to $6.50 in morning trade.
(Reporting by Phil Wahba; additional reporting by
A.Ananthalakshmi in Bangalore; editing by Simon Jessop and John