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Ingram cuts 100 jobs in Amherst

Ingram Micro has eliminated 100 jobs at its Amherst sales center as the technology wholesaler grapples with the slowing economy.

The job cuts at its office on Wehrle Drive are part of a broader "optimization plan" that eliminated 300 jobs from the company's North American operations, said Lisa Zwick, an Ingram Micro spokeswoman.

The company also is dropping 100 other positions throughout the company that had been open but unfilled, she said. Ingram Micro, which employed 1,200 locally two years ago, declined to say how many employees it currently has in the Buffalo Niagara region.

"We've been working for quite a long time to avoid layoffs," Zwick said. "We've looked at all areas."

Ingram Micro made the job cuts on Tuesday, a day before the company is scheduled to release its fourth-quarter earnings. Analysts are expecting earnings per share to slide by about 38 percent.

Company executives warned last fall that the slowing economy was having an impact on Ingram Micro's revenues. Third-quarter sales slipped by 4 percent, while profits fell by 36 percent, and the company stopped issuing quarterly financial guidance because of "the current unpredictability of the global markets."

Even so, Ingram Micro executives said they expected sales to weaken further this year and predicted further cost-cutting efforts in a bid to maintain the company's profitability as pricing competition intensifies.

Richard Kugele, a Needham & Co. analyst, downgraded Ingram Micro's stock to "hold" from "buy" in late January and cut his fourth-quarter estimates for the company.

"Although Ingram will clearly be one of the survivors out of the current macroeconomic maelstrom, we believe that the company has the greatest challenges from a cost perspective of the three technology distributors we cover," he wrote in a note to investors.

Ingram Micro is the world's biggest distributor of technology products.

e-mail: drobinson@buffnews.com

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