Ekornes, Norway’s largest furniture producer, announced it would be slashing its payroll by the equivalent of as many as 190 full-time jobs in Norway and hundreds more abroad. The company cited a decline in demand and new orders.
“This was a shock for many,” employee representative Edvard Lie told state broadcaster NRK. “Everyone knew that sales had declined, but that the numbers (of layoffs) would be so high came as a big surprise to everyone.”
Ekornes is best know for its “Stressless” armchairs and other high-end furniture sold around the world. It’s based in the mountain town of Sykkelven, not far from Ålesund, and ranks as a major employer in the region.
The company’s acting chief executive, Fredrik Ødegård Nilsen, said the company “must adjust production to market demand. We cut back in September and imposed four-day work weeks up to Christmas in the hopes that sales would improve. We thought we’d end 2022 with a bigger order reserve, but ufortunately sales haven’t gone up.”
The company is also cutting back on international production, pulling out of Vietnam and consolidating Asian production in Thailand. Another 700 jobs will be cut, spread over plants in Norway, the US and Lithuania.