Friday, May 21, 1999

Gibson lays off 55 area workers

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Gibson Greetings Inc. said Thursday it was releasing 55 Greater Cincinnati workers, following a warning that the card company would have to eliminate jobs to cut costs.

        Gary Rhodes, a spokesman for Gibson, said the workers represent 8 percent of Gibson's area work force and held a variety of positions. He said 15 additional open job slots will not be filled.

        The reductions follow 55 out-of-town field positions eliminated earlier this month.

        Gibson last month said it would have to reduce costs because of significantly lower earnings in the first quarter and — as anticipated — the

        year. The card maker said it would review the entire organization, including all businesses and product lines.

        “I can't comment on exactly how much money this is going to save,” Mr. Rhodes said. “But we've said all along we have to reduce costs to remain competitive, and this is a step in that direction.”

        The workers are receiving severance and outplacement assistance, he said.

        Mr. Rhodes added that Gibson has yet to eliminate 65 office and administrative jobs that will be cut as the card maker invests $35 million in new management information systems. The reductions were officially announced in spring 1998. Those workers likely will be dismissed between third quarter 1999 and first quarter 2000.

        Gibson in 1998 also closed its Amberley Village manufacturing plant, eliminating 415 manufacturing jobs.

        After Thursday's reductions, Gibson employed 615 workers in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Companywide, Gibson employs 1,100 full-time and 5,900 part-time workers.

        Gibson earlier this month reported a 22 cents-per-share loss in the first quarter. It said last month it expects earnings for the full year to fall “significantly below” the 97 cents a share it reported in 1998.

        The company's problems are two-pronged. Card sales, by unit, have been declining industrywide; and Gibson has been unable to land large accounts that would boost revenues.

Milestones in Gibson history

Kroger sees stock split
Baldwin's suspicions confirmed
Road Runner coming in July
- Gibson lays off 55 area workers
Brazos to sell its units
Provident agog over earnings