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Camping & Hiking

Military cutbacks force layoffs at Outdoor Research

Outdoor Research laid off an undisclosed number of employees last week, largely due to a decline in military orders, officials confirmed with SNEWS.


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Outdoor Research laid off an undisclosed number of employees last week, largely due to a decline in military orders, officials have confirmed with SNEWS.

Most of the reductions were related to company’s Seattle factory operations, which manufacture outdoor gear for the military.

“With the two wars ending, and to some degree sequestration, the government business is definitely seeing some contraction,” Outdoor Research Director of Marketing Charles Lozner said. “Just like any business, there’s the reality of aligning resources with revenue.”

Reductions also hit the commercial side of the business, but to a lesser extent, Lozner said. “We continue to see great growth in consumer headwear, gloves and apparel,” he said.

Additional changes include Outdoor Research President Alex Kutches stepping back to his former position of vice president of sales, officials confirmed. Kutches took on the role as president in 2011, and will relinquish the position back to CEO Dan Nordstrom, who will again serve in both roles.

Outdoor Research won’t be the only outdoor company to feel the effects of declining military business. While sequestration budget cuts recently grabbed the headlines, the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan will affect more outdoor brands in the coming year. The reductions will be hardest felt in domestic manufacturing facilities, where, mandated by law, all U.S. military goods are made.

–David Clucas

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