Transcontinental cuts 1,500 jobs

Blaming a rapid deterioration in the economy and slumping ad sales, the publisher also closes a national lifestyle mag.

Montreal-based printer and publisher Transcontinental yesterday announced 1,500 layoffs and the immediate closure of Canadian Home and Country magazine. The cost-cutting measures are due to the financial crisis that has caused the cancellation or postponement of printing projects and magazine ad placements. ‘In recent weeks the rapid deterioration of the economy has reduced the communication and marketing investments of a number of Transcontinental’s customers,’ the company stated in a release.

Nessa Prendergast, Transcontinental media relations director, says 500 cuts have already taken place in their direct mail printing operations in the US. The remainder of the layoffs will take place over the course of 2009, with 40% of the total being cut across Canada, 50% in the US and 10% in Mexico.

Titled ‘rationalization measures’ that will save Transcontinental $75 million annually, ($50 million in 2009), a hiring freeze is also in place and remaining employees are asked to take unpaid leave or reduced work weeks.

Canadian Home and Country had a circulation of 120,190 in December 2008 – down in both subs and single-copy sales by about 3.9%. Its run-of-press ad pages were also down 27.9% last year.