UPDATED, 5:54 p.m. April 30: Hudson’s Bay Company, the owner of Saks Fifth Avenue, will lay off 507 New York-based employees due to the coronavirus.
The layoffs are temporary, and most employees will be laid off between April 21 and May 4, according to a notice filed with the New York State Department of Labor.
Hudson’s Bay, a Canadian-based firm that was founded in 1670 and bills itself as the oldest company in North America, is the parent company for Saks Fifth Avenue and Saks OFF FIFTH. Saks Fifth Avenue elected to close all of its stores in the United States and Canada for at least two weeks in mid-March.
A spokesperson for Hudson’s Bay stressed that the employees were being furloughed and not permanently laid off.
“We will continue to have small teams in place to support our business with essential functions, including our e-commerce businesses,” the statement read. “This is an incredibly challenging situation for our people but a necessary step to protect the long-term viability of our business for customers, associates and partners.”
An attorney has accused the firm of shortchanging more than 90 employees in the greater Toronto area on severance benefits, according to Global News. Hudson’s Bay has denied the charges.
The layoffs come at a time when Hudson’s Bay has also emerged as a rumored buyer of department store Neiman Marcus, which has been gearing up for a bankruptcy filing.
On Wednesday, Bloomberg reported that Hudson’s Bay missed April payments on two commercial mortgage-backed securities, part of $696 million in financing for Saks Fifth Avenue and other stores. The company did not pay interest-only debt payments totaling $3.2 million, according to Bloomberg.
This story has been updated with a statement from Hudson’s Bay.