John Drinnan

Media writer for the New Zealand Herald

Yellow Pages lays off 125 workers as focus shifts online

Telecom yellow pages directory. Photo / NZPA
Telecom yellow pages directory. Photo / NZPA

Yellow Pages is laying off 125 people - about 20 per cent of its workforce - as it shifts its emphasis from print to online business.

The move will not mean the end of the Yellow Pages phone book just yet, the company says, but it does show a shift in focus. Chief executive Scott Pomeroy said yesterday the cuts were because Yellow was combining operations for its traditional books and online.

Yellow was not back in the financial mire that led to a bank takeover, restructuring and huge $1.6 billion write off of debt in 2010, he said.

The job cuts had more to do with technology than any concerns about profits.

The directories firm is in talks with 125 affected sales staff in Hamilton, Tauranga, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Napier, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

Mr Pomeroy said the shift to digital media made using the Yellow Pages easier and more automated.

Yellow Pages has also been dealing with new competition in the directories market from Localist, a division of New Zealand Post that has been targeting Yellow Pages customers.

Mr Pomeroy said Localist - which has five print directories in Auckland and focuses on online listings - was not eating into the directories market.

"Localist is working in the same digital environment, but Yellow does not see it as a head-to-head competitor."

He said the job cuts were a result of "new priorities" away from the focus of traditional directory books, with more efficient operations and less time needed dealing with customers.

- NZ Herald

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