Market Researcher Cites Need to Invest in New Services

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CINCINNATI ( -- Market researcher Information Resources Inc. will cut 5% of its workforce in the U.S. and Europe, or about 200 employees, through layoffs and elimination of open positions in its scanner-data tracking business, the company said.

IRI cited a need to raise funds to invest in new services and coverage of retail channels it doesn’t currently cover. Chairman-CEO Joe Durrett said in a statement the cuts also reflect “process and efficiency improvements.”

P&G account in review
The decision comes as IRI’s biggest client, Procter & Gamble Co., nears a decision on its scanner and panel data account in a review that includes VNU’s ACNielsen Corp.

IRI said it will take a $7.8 million charge to cover severance costs, meaning it will miss previous earnings guidance for the fourth quarter and full year. The company did not provide updated guidance.

Decreased client base
IRI has undergone a series of restructuring moves and layoffs in recent years as consolidation of package-goods industry clients and retail data suppliers increased costs and decreased the client base. Wal-Mart Stores stopped selling scanner data to IRI and ACNielsen in 2001, forcing both companies to invest in improving consumer panel data in an attempt to fill the gap.

IRI has moved from losses to narrow profitability in recent quarters. For the nine months ended Sept. 30, revenues fell less than 1% to $413.5 million and net loss decreased 73% to $1.1 million. In the third quarter, net income was $900,000 on revenues of $140.6 million -- 2% ahead of the prior year.

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