Why Warby Parker Workers Have Reason To Worry

Some workers at Warby Parker have real reason to worry. The company just announced it would be cutting over 50 corporate roles.

By Charlene Badasie | Published

warby parker

As the country’s inflation woes continue, Warby Parker has revealed that it’s struggling to stay the course. The trendy eyewear brand is the latest in a slew of retailers impacted by wavering economic forces which are forcing consumers to rethink their discretionary buying. As such, the 12-year-old company which pioneered the direct-to-consumer model for stylish eyewear under $100, announced job cuts to its staff earlier this week. Blaming the move on an uncertain economic environment, the company said it cut 63 corporate positions.

According to CNN Business, the roles represent 2% of Warby Parker’s total employees and 15% of its corporate staff. Cofounders and co-CEOs Dave Gilboa and Neil Blumenthal said the downsizing would not include customer-facing positions, or its retail and lab divisions. The New York-based company currently operates 169 brick-and-mortar stores in addition to its DTC business. The fact that its cuts won’t impact existing stores suggests that the channel is doing well. Speaking about the job cuts, Gilboa and Blumenthal didn’t falter when blaming their decision on the economic downturn in the internal memo circulated to employees.

“As we have discussed over the past few weeks, the global economy continues to face significant volatility and uncertainty,” the Warby Parker bosses explained. “This is impacting consumer behavior in every industry, including the optical industry.” The pair added that, as a business, the eyewear brand must do its best to adapt. Even if that sometimes involves making difficult decisions in the best interests of the company. Reiterating the difficult decision, the memo assured staff that these changes enable the outfit to operate in a more focused and nimble manner.

The move also enables Warby Parker to capitalize more efficiently on various high-impact opportunities. News of the employee cutbacks come as the company prepares to report its quarterly results which, like its counterparts, have probably taken a hit. Unfortunately, the retailer’s stock price has already dropped 70% this year, with the company reporting results that missed expectations in May. The brand didn’t address how its new strategy might affect its previously announced plans to open 40 more stores this year. Retail Drive says Blumenthal told analysts that third-party research indicated the firm could grow its store base to more than 900 locations.

As we get closer to the end of the year, Americans not just paying more for necessities like food and gas. Folks are now shelling out considerably more money for everything! With the struggle to stretch weekly budgets to cover these rising costs, more households also are piling up credit card debt to keep up with inflation and the high cost of living. Credit card debt has increased by $100 billion over the past year – it’s the biggest spike in more than 20 years. And if something is not a necessity, like Warby Parker eyewear, they’re not buying it.

That’s left big-box retailers like Walmart and Target with an oversupply of clothing and other general merchandise. Like Warby Parker, the retail giant announced last week, that it was laying off about 200 corporate employees, according to CNN Business.