Following a round of layoffs last summer, Academy Sports + Outdoors said it will be laying off approximately 140 corporate employees largely due to the outsourcing of certain IT functions at the retailer.

The retailer said in a statement, “Academy Sports + Outdoors, like many brick-and-mortar retailers, has been implementing a strategic realignment to help our organization grow and be more effective and responsive to our customers. The changes announced this week are the next step in transforming our business. Approximately 140 non-customer-facing positions will be impacted. These changes primarily involve the outsourcing of certain IT functions to a U.S.-based company. Team members leaving the organization are eligible either for a severance package or a role with the third-party IT services provider. We are retaining more than half of our corporate IT personnel. The new organizational structure will be better aligned with our business priorities, and will put us in a position to better serve our customers in an ever-changing digital age.”

The statement arrived after Academy confirmed to the Houston Chronicle last week that it was laying off 57 transportation employees in a similar outsourcing of their duties to a third-party company. Those employees include two salaried positions and 55 hourly positions.

An Academy spokesperson said in an e-mail, “Academy Sports & Outdoors, like many brick-and-mortar retailers, has been implementing a strategic realignment to help our organization be more efficient, nimble and responsive to customer demands. Outsourcing our transportation network is the next step in that process. The goal of this transition is to modernize and expand our transportation functionality to a growing network of stores.”

In July 2017, Academy Sports said it had laid off approximately 100 corporate employees from its corporate office in Katy, TX as part of a “strategic reorganization.”

The layoffs, which followed a similar round of layoffs at its largest competitor, Dick’s Sporting Goods, came from across departments. At the time, Academy employed 23,000 in more than 230 stores in 16 states in the central and eastern U.S. These include about 5,400 in the Houston area, where it also operates about 30 stores.

“The company’s multi-pronged initiative is focused on key strategic investments that will help the company build a stronger foundation for continued future success,” Academy said in an e-mail sent to media outlets. “As part of this initiative, approximately 100 non-customer facing positions were eliminated.”

The statement added, “Today’s announcement is part of a careful and thoughtful review of our investments and strategic goals. Retail is evolving rapidly, and we’ve identified new areas of focus where our energy and dollars will make a real difference as we continue to write our strategic growth story.”

Academy President and CEO J.K. Symancyk added in the e-mail, “Our passion for what we do and for what we offer customers is the driving force behind our constant push for improvement. Today’s changes, while difficult, will create a more nimble and collaborative organization that will better serve our stores and the changing needs of our customers.”

The reorganization came after Moody’s Investors Service in late April lowered the debt ratings of the Texas-based chain to negative from stable due to recent deteriorating results. Moody’s report noted that Academy’s same-store sales slid in the low-single-digit range and management-adjusted EBITDA dropped 23 percent in 2016. Sales in 2016 year reached $4.7 billion, up from $4.6 billion in 2015.

Academy has been controlled by an affiliate of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co L.P. (KKR) since 2011.

Photo courtesy Academy Sports