MEC to lay off fewer employees than planned, with 1 store to close, new owners say

Mountain Equipment Co-op says it will be letting go of fewer employees than previously planned, with just one store set to close following its takeover by a U.S. private investment firm.

The Vancouver-based company says 85 per cent of its active workforce will remain on the job once the deal closes, up from a minimum of 75 per cent that Kingswood Capital Management Ltd. previously indicated.

MEC had 1,516 employees as of Sept. 7, including 1,143 who were active mostly in B.C. and Ontario, according to a monitor’s report when it was under creditor protection.

The report also said it had 197 workers on leave and 176 on layoff.

Kingswood plans to keep 21 of its 22 stores open, up from its original plan for a minimum of 17 stores.

After struggling with sluggish sales, inventory issues and increasing online competition, MEC filed for creditor protection on Sept. 14 and announced its sale to a Canadian subsidiary of Los Angeles-based Kingswood.

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