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MEC cuts costs, boosts perks in effort to turn around struggling retailer

FILE - The outside of a Mountain Equipment Co-Op is seen in North Vancouver, Monday, Dec. 9, 2017. Mountain Equipment Co-op says it's made major changes, including looking to move its head office, as it seeks to become profitable and stay viable. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

VANCOUVER — Mountain Equipment Co-op says it has made major changes, including looking to move its head office, as it seeks to become profitable and stay viable.

The Vancouver-based company’s chief executive says in an open letter that the goal is to return MEC “to a financially healthy state.”

The outdoor apparel and goods retailer reported a net loss of $11.49 million for the year ended Feb. 24, 2019 compared to net earnings of $11.75 million for the previous financial year.

Phil Arrata says the company converted more than 950 jobs classified as casual-non-permanent roles into full- and part-time positions.

Those employees will now receive MEC’s benefits package, including extended health and dental coverage, an RRSP matching plan, and maternity and parental leave top ups, among other things.

The company reduced costs elsewhere to be able to make the job classification changes, including reducing annual costs in technology spending and looking to sublet its head office building as it looks to move to a different space.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2020.

Will be updated, The Canadian Press