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Report: Nike To Lay Off 450 Workers

March 14, 1998

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ Nike Inc. will lay off about 250 employees in Oregon and another 200 elsewhere in the country starting next week, The Oregonian reported today.

Workers were told of the impending layoffs at a meeting late Thursday.

Nike said Feb. 24 that it was planning layoffs.

The reduction, which amounts to less than 4 percent of Nike’s domestic workforce, is smaller than some expected. Industry sources had estimated the Beaverton-based athletic giant would eliminate about 1,500 jobs.

Nike is expected to announce job reductions overseas on Wednesday. If it eliminates the same percentage of its 7,837 international employees, the total layoff would be 721.

If that holds true, ``it really tells you something about what management feels the prospects are, that they continue to think their growth prospects are quite good,″ said Margaret Mager, a stock analyst with Goldman Sachs in New York. ``I’m not sure Wall Street will agree with that view.″

Nike’s European and Latin American sales remain strong, but Asian and U.S. footwear sales have been declining.

Earlier this week, the company terminated 300 temporary workers, mostly at its headquarters in Beaverton.

Nike spokesman Lee Weinstein confirmed that some employees in Europe and Asia have been laid off but wouldn’t say how many.

This is only the third layoff in Nike history. It cut 269 jobs in 1987 and 459 jobs in 1993. In both cases, Weinstein noted, the company responded with vigorous growth.

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