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Zulily in Central Ohio: Company has cut jobs, space

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Layoffs and a shift to remote work have cut an online retailer’s Central Ohio workforce and office footprint in recent years.

Seattle-based Zulily once had nearly 1,400 employees in the region, between its offices in Gahanna and an Obetz distribution facility. But it has now vacated the Gahanna space and reduced its Ohio employment to 760.

That includes around 400 employees at its distribution center, with the remainder all in work-from-home roles. The figures do not include seasonal workers.

A company spokesperson said there was a long-term plan to move customer service and engagement jobs to permanent remote work, a shift that accelerated with the arrival of the pandemic in 2020. Studio and production jobs that were here were relocated to Seattle while some IT jobs moved to Obetz.

The Gahanna office closed at the end of 2020.

The company previously announced layoffs in both Seattle and Columbus in 2019, but never put a figure to those job reductions.

Two former Zulily office spaces are among the larger sublease spaces available in Central Ohio, according to a Colliers report, at 32,500 square feet and 29,000 square feet respectively.

An auction was held last week for fixtures and furnishings from those offices.

Zulily opened its Obetz distribution center in 2012. It twice has been approved for Jobs Creation Tax Credits from the state, both in 2011 for its initial arrival and in 2014 as it was expanding.

Those incentives are valued at $7.98 million if all goals are achieved, according to the state’s database.

The 2011 incentive has a 13-year term and the 2014 incentive is eight years, so both would still be active. Zulily was to have 1,480 new jobs, according to the state info.

The Ohio Department of Development said Zulily is required to report its annual progress until 2027 and that the department will continue to monitor the agreement until then. The tax credit is performance-based and is calculated annually so the company only is eligible for incentives on payroll that has been created.

Despite the job cuts, the company said it has open positions both at its distribution center and in work-from-home roles.

“Columbus is a significant, growing tech hub and we’re actively recruiting tech talent in the area,” the company said.