Harrison Weber is TNW's Features Editor in NYC. Part writer, part designer. Stay in touch: Twitter @harrisonweber, Google+ and Email. Harrison Weber is TNW's Features Editor in NYC. Part writer, part designer. Stay in touch: Twitter @harrisonweber, Google+ and Email.
LivingSocial, the daily deals startup and Groupon competitor in which Amazon invested a hefty $175 million, is closing its NY office at 101 Fifth Avenue and is terminating its local events division. This news has been confirmed by LivingSocial, with additional detail provided by our own sources.
This news comes less than one month after LivingSocial closed the doors on its Seattle office and reportedly requested that Seattle employees work remotely. Now, the company’s NY office is facing a similar fate; LivingSocial’s New York staff, including sales and advertising employees, will work remotely as the company exits its New York headquarters in Midtown. The headquarters had reportedly taken up the building’s entire fifth floor at 60,405-square-feet.
According to LivingSocial’s Head of Communications Sara Parker, the closure of its New York office differs from Seattle, in that separate office space is still being provided in New York for employees that cannot work remotely.
LivingSocial’s local events team — the team in charge of producing LivingSocial’s original events, which included everything from river tubing to a Surf Yoga Beach Day — is being terminated. 30 full-time positions are being cut as a result, LivingSocial confirms.
In addition, our sources say over 60 part-time employees in New York, which provided onsite support to the previously mentioned events, will also be let go by October 1st — once LivingSocial concludes its final, locally-focused events in the city. Correction: LivingSocial says that its number of part-time employees fluctuates and that the “60 part-time employees” figure is not accurate, but would not share any numbers with us.
LivingSocial claims this move was not intended as a cost-cutting measure:
Importantly, this was not a cost cutting effort, it was a business decision as we continue to focus on achieving profitability.
The local events program, which once operated in as many as 30 different markets during its peak, is survived by larger touring events, which LivingSocial tells us have proven to be significantly more profitable. This includes events like the 5K run, BeerFest and Sumo & Sushi. The company’s third-party ticket deals, in which LivingSocial plays no role in coordinating, will also remain.
Contrasting the events in New York, LivingSocial was quick to mention that the company is looking to hire fifty new employees at its “flagship customer-care call center” in Tucson. The company tells us, reassuringly, that it currently counts approximately 4,000 employees globally, half of which reside in the US.
Image credit: Thinkstock
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