Friday, May 2, 2008

Charles and Colvard cuts staff

Morrisville, N.C.—Charles and Colvard has slashed its workforce by 18 percent to cut costs amid slowing sales, various news services report.

The cuts amount to a loss of about 10 jobs for the Morrisville, N.C.-based moissanite maker, bringing its staff down to a total of 45.

Like so many other players in the jewelry industry, Charles and Colvard is feeling the effects of an anemic economy.

According to news reports, the company reported a net loss of $698,000 for the first three months of the year, compared with a year ago when the company reported a net income of $339,000.

Charles and Colvard Chief Executive Officer Bob Thomas was quoted in The News and Observer as saying the cuts were made across all departments, including sales, management and the administrative staff.

A consulting company hired by Charles and Colvard recommended the cuts, which will save the company about $500,000 a year.

Thomas also said further changes "will address more encompassing issues," and will be announced after the company's May 27 shareholder meeting.

While Thomas would not elaborate, one analyst told The News and Observer that Charles and Colvard is a prime target for acquisition.

According to news reports, the company's inventory of moissanite gemstones is valued at about $42 million and could retail for up to $169 million.

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