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What’s next for Canada’s retail industry?

AUSTRALIA’S biggest retailer has confirmed it will lay off an additional 1,000 employees and slash the size of its global footprint by half, amid a prolonged recession that has forced it to slash prices and cut prices across the board.

Citigroup said Wednesday that it will eliminate about 1,300 jobs in its retail operations in Canada and Ireland and trim its footprint by more than 10 per cent.

The company is also laying off 2,400 employees and cutting its workforce by 10 per one.

It said it expects the cuts to take effect within months.

“The world is getting more competitive,” said CEO John Bailie.

“We have a number of initiatives that are in place to increase our efficiency.”

Citibank, Canada’s biggest retailer, said the job cuts will affect about 1 per cent of its 1.4 million employees across the country.

“We are doing this in order to better serve our customers in the retail business,” Bailia said.

“As we have seen the effects of the financial crisis, and we have made a number and number of strategic changes to our business, our focus has always been on making our business better.”

The retailer said it is looking to make savings across the company.

“As we move forward with these changes, we are continuing to look at all options and are committed to delivering a more efficient and effective business,” said a Citibank spokesperson.

The company said the workforce reductions are the latest in a string of job cuts across Canada that have put downward pressure on retail sales.

In September, Citibanks announced a $15-billion (U.S.) restructuring plan to slash costs and improve efficiency.

The retailer’s CEO said last month that his company was cutting nearly 1,200 jobs across the world.

On Wednesday, Bailio also announced that he would be laying off about 1.5 per cent more of his staff in Canada as part of a cost-cutting plan.

Bailio said the layoffs will save about $2 billion and help Citibans bottom line.

The job cuts are the result of Citigroup’s “recovery plan” to reduce expenses, reduce costs, increase efficiency and focus on improving its “financial health,” according to the company’s latest earnings release.

Bailedito said the company will “continue to improve our operations to deliver value to our customers and shareholders,” while cutting costs.