Ikea expects record sales
Swedish furniture giant Ikea has cut 5,000 jobs worldwide because of the global economic crisis but expects to post record sales nonetheless, its chief told a Swedish newspaper on Tuesday. The unlisted family-owned company expects sales of 21.5 billion euros (US$30.1 billion), or 3 percent growth, excluding currency effects for its fiscal year ending Aug. 31, managing director Anders Dahlvig told financial daily Dagens Industri. “We have never had to implement such massive job cuts before ... But it is completely necessary to adapt our costs and our capacity to demand, which is weaker than we expected,” said Dahlvig, who will step down on Sept. 1 and pass the baton to Mikael Olsson. “For example, in the previously rapidly expanding Chinese market there is virtually no growth,” he said, adding that Ikea had been caught off guard by the severity of the economic crisis.
Harvard to cut 275 jobs
Harvard University is cutting 275 staff jobs as fallout continues from the school’s dropping endowment. The layoffs amount to less than 2 percent of Harvard’s 16,000 staff and faculty. The school is also reducing hours for 40 staffers. The cuts don’t apply to faculty. The cuts were announced in an e-mail on Tuesday to faculty and staff from president Drew Faust and human resources vice president Marilyn Hausammann. Harvard’s endowment fell 22 percent between the end of June last year and October to US$28.7 billion. The university has said it expects the drop to total 30 percent for the fiscal year that ends this month.
‘Globe,’ union reach deal
The Boston Globe and its largest union have reached a tentative agreement that will save the newspaper US$10 million through salary and benefit cuts. The Globe and the Boston Newspaper Guild issued separate e-mail statements late on Tuesday announcing the agreement. The deal is scheduled to come to a vote before Guild membership — made up of 700 editorial, advertising and business employees — on July 20. Under the agreement, salaries would be cut by 5.94 percent and language in contracts regarding job security would be altered. The 23 percent wage cut will remain in place until the Guild vote. In the meantime, employees will receive a lump sum payment to partially compensate for wages lost. Two weeks ago, Guild membership narrowly rejected a contract that called for an 8.3 percent wage cut, unpaid furloughs, benefit cuts and the elimination of lifetime job guarantees for nearly 200 staffers.
Prince Charles costs more
Britain’s Prince Charles cost the taxpayer almost 25 percent more last year than one year earlier, his accounts showed on Tuesday — despite cutting his costs by almost £500,000 (US$823,500). The annual report published by Clarence House shows government and taxpayer funds given to the heir to the British throne went up by 23 percent from £2.45 million to £3 million. Charles’ aides said two foreign tours to Asia and Latin America were responsible for most of the increase, with official transport costs going up from £1.16 million in the 2007-2008 tax year to £1.71 million in 2008-2009.
However, Clarence House insisted Charles had responded to the recession by cutting his personal costs by 23 percent, from £2.2 million to £1.7 million, as well as managing his estate carefully.