E-cigarette maker Juul plans layoffs, says report
Published: Sep 03, 2020 07:53 PM

The international e-cigarette experience exhibition was held in Beijing in October 2017. Photo: VCG

Troubled e-cigarette maker Juul plans to pull out of Europe and Asia and lay off more workers after already shedding a third of its workforce, the Wall Street Journal said Wednesday.

The start-up could end sales in 11 countries including Italy, Germany, Russia, Indonesia and the Philippines, the paper said, noting the US, Canada and Britain accounted for 90 percent of its sales in the first quarter. 

That is expected to be accompanied by layoffs, but no precise numbers have been announced. Juul did not respond to a request for comment.

The labor cuts would allow the company to invest in developing new products, according to an email sent to staff by Juul CEO Kevin Crosthwaite.

"While those investments will not provide short-term revenue, they will help us earn trust and build a company for the long term," said Crosthwaite who took over the company a year ago.

Juul was accused of illegally selling its products to underage consumers and of having targeted high school kids, unleashing a landslide of lawsuits.

Since then, Juul has essentially stopped advertising or selling sweet or fruit-flavored products in the US and has pulled out of several overseas markets such as South Korea, Austria, Belgium, Portugal and Spain, as sales plummeted.

It laid off almost a third of its 3,000 workers earlier in 2020, and now has a staff of around 2,200, the Journal said.

In addition, in April the Federal Trade Commission moved to block a huge investment by competitor Altria, which owns the Marlboro brand, in Juul.