LivingSocial is laying off 200 employees, or about 20 percent of its workforce, as it looks to move away from the daily-deals business, the company said Wednesday.
The job cuts, which are effective immediately, include about 30 positions in the company’s D.C. headquarters. The rest of the layoffs are distributed throughout North America, with the company’s customer service operations in Tucson the hardest hit, said Gautam Thakar, president and chief executive of LivingSocial.
“Even though today is a tough day, we want to move forward with investments in [new] areas,” Thakar said in an interview.
The latest round of cuts comes less than one year after 400 employees, including about 100 in the Washington area, were dismissed last November .
The reductions follow a move last month by rival Groupon, which laid off 1,100 people worldwide, or nearly 10 percent of its workforce.
In its heyday, LivingSocial was a darling of the daily-deals world, with more than 1,000 employees in the Washington area and 4,000 globally. But in recent years, that business has weakened, and LivingSocial has struggled to find its footing and become profitable.
Earlier this year, Thakar announced that the company would begin offering more “experience”-based services. A pilot program introduced last week in Austin, for example, allows customers to book discounted haircuts, massages and other beauty treatments online. Another project launched earlier in Atlanta allows people to save money at new restaurants with the swipe of a registered card.
“We really want to invest much more in building out these pilots and scaling them beyond the one or two cities of the U.S., so we are really shifting our focus from the daily-deals model to the experiences model,” Thakar said. “This is a multiyear journey to transform ourselves.”
Affected employees will be offered severance packages and outplacement services.
Despite the dismissals, Thakar said the company is still hiring for certain positions and said he expects the number of employees in the District to grow in 2016.
LivingSocial is part-owned by Amazon.com, whose founder, Jeffrey P. Bezos, owns The Washington Post.