West Coast agencies see more layoffs

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Some 100 agency employees have been laid off in the past week at three San Francisco shops. Omnicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners this week laid off 10% of its work force, or about 30 people, said an executive familiar with the situation. That's on top of the half-dozen employees let go in January when the agency folded its interactive division into its general staff. True North Communications' FCB Worldwide laid off 28 employees, or about 7% of its staff; that includes the 10 layoffs previously reported (AA, Feb. 26) Late last week, Leagas Delaney, which had 87 employees, let go about half of its staff. Execs at all three agencies said the cutbacks were due largely to the evaporation of dot-com business in the area and a decline in spending among current clients.

In other West Coast layoffs, WalMart.com cut its staff by 24 people, or about 10%. Many of the cuts hit the marketing and merchandising departments. However, a WalMart.com spokeswoman said the site is adding 52 positions, primarily in engineering, site design and product management. "We are refocusing our resources" in light of what the company has learned following its first holiday season, she said.

Magnet Interactive West, now part of London digital shop AKQA, closed its Los Angeles office, which employed a reported 75 employees. AKQA officials referred calls to CEO Rick Hadala, who was traveling in Europe but indicated through an assistant he would make a statement about the company's future within the next two weeks.

Copyright February 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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