A recent letter from Bass Pro Shops’ CEO Johnny Morris to employees at Cabela’s corporate headquarters in Sidney, Nebraska, noted there would be layoffs, but did not provide many details.
Cabela’s was acquired by Bass Pro Shops for US$5bn in September. By acquiring its largest competitor, Bass Pro becomes North America’s largest outdoor retailer. Its subsidiary White River Marine Group, formerly called Tracker Marine, is one of North America’s highest-volume boat builders.
According to the Omaha World-Herald, the 11-page letter from Morris said that the company will retain some employees in Sidney, which employs about 2,000 people. Sidney has a population of about 6,000. Bass Pro Shops’ headquarters is in Springfield, Missouri.
Details about who would remain in Sidney were scarce. The letter said that Cabela’s IT division, which employs about 125, would be kept fully in tact. “Significant” accounting operations and the distribution center would also remain in Sidney. The letter noted that US$10m had been earmarked for severance pay for laid off employees.
“One of our biggest priorities is to be as thoughtful to Cabela’s outfitters and the City of Sidney as we possibly can, and go above and beyond what is required to be very fair and supportive,” said the letter, quoted by the Omaha World-Herald.
Other Cabela’s operations in Nebraska will remain, including its credit card operations in Lincoln, and call centres in Grand Island, Kearney, North Platte and Lincoln. The call centres employ approximately 350 people.
Empty buildings on the Cabela’s campus will “effectively be donated” by Bass Pro Shops to the City of Sidney.
The letter said that three former Cabela’s executives would remain in senior positions with the newly combined company. Ralph Castner, who had been Cabela’s chief financial officer, will become CFO for the combined company in Springfield. Sarah Kaiser, who worked in human resources at Cabela’s, will become senior vice president of human resources for the combined company. Sheila Dormann, a Cabela’s employee for 17 years, will become vice president of finance for White River Marine Group.