Verizon slashes retail jobs as cost-cutting efforts continue

Verizon slashed jobs last week as it restructured its retail operations, but the operator isn’t disclosing how many employees it is laying off.

The nation’s largest carrier said it created a new “retail support specialist” position, which combines the current responsibilities of “experience specialist” and “operations specialist” into a single role, eliminating the previous positions. Verizon declined to say how many jobs were eliminated, but a union representative told The Associated Press the operator cut “hundreds or even thousands of jobs.”

Some employees who held the previous positions will fill the new jobs, a Verizon spokeswoman told FierceWireless. The representative declined to say how many jobs were eliminated.

Verizon told employees of the layoffs last week. The new positions will be responsible for store operations, customer experience, merchandising and cash management.

The layoffs underscore a U.S. wireless market that has grown increasingly competitive as smartphone penetration reaches saturation. A year ago Verizon cut an undisclosed number of management positions as it consolidated its regional offices, reducing the number of its 20 offices down to six.

Jeffrey Kvaal of Nomura Securities International said last year that Verizon planned to lay off as many 6,000 employees as it reorganized its wireless business. The operator emphasized its focus on cost-cutting in April when it posted its first-quarter financial results.

"We remain focused on cost reduction throughout the entire business and are making progress in increasing efficiencies, reducing overhead costs, and streamlining support," Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said at the time. "In the fourth quarter of 2015 we restructured our wireless organization to improve our ability to address the changing needs of our customers fasters and more efficiently…. Overall consolidated headcount since the end of 2015 is down approximately 3 percent as we continue to increase the opportunity of our operations."

For more:
- see this Associated Press report

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Article udpated Oct. 11 to correct image.