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Shopify Cuts Jobs Again, Sells Most of Logistics Business to Flexport

Shopify app.
Canada's Shopify Inc let go 20 percent of its workforce in a second round of layoffs. (Shutterstock)

Shopify Inc. shares surged after the Canadian e-commerce company cut jobs for the second time in 10 months and agreed to sell the majority of its logistics business to Flexport Inc. as it faces a challenging climb back from last year’s slump.

“I don’t want to bury the lede: after today, Shopify will be smaller by about 20 percent, and Flexport will buy Shopify Logistics; this means some of you will leave Shopify today,” chief executive officer Tobi Lütke said in a memo to staff. “I recognise the crushing impact this decision has on some of you, and did not make this decision lightly.”

Shopify soared about 18 percent in US premarket trading. The company expects to incur severance charges of $140 million to $150 million. “Our numbers were unhealthy, just like it is in much of the tech industry,” Lütke said. “With the right numbers, we’ll fully focus on outcomes and impact.”

Revenue for the period came in at $1.51 billion, beating the $1.43 billion average estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Gross merchandise volume, the total value of merchant sales across Shopify’s platforms, was $49.6 billion, above Wall Street projections of $47.68 billion.

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The Ottawa-based company also gave an outlook for the second quarter, saying it expects revenue to grow at a similar rate to the first-quarter growth rate on a year-over-year basis. It also expects to achieve free cash flow profitability for each quarter of 2023.

Shopify bet early in the pandemic that a rapid rise in online shopping, fueled by customers staying home, would become permanent. As that wager soured, Lütke has attempted to turn the company around. It cut about 1,000 jobs last summer, raised prices and focused on building out client offerings and its in-house fulfilment network. Shopify had 11,600 employees at the end of 2022.

The company has had to contend with macroeconomic risks, including slower consumer spending and inflationary pressures. Retail sales fell 1.4 percent in March, according to a preliminary Statistics Canada estimate.

By Ilya Banares

Learn more:

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Shopify, Farfetch and other tech companies are vying for the multi-billion-dollar opportunity to handle the backend of brands’ online stores.


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