Kozmo.com Lays Off 275 Workers

Web-based one-hour delivery service Kozmo.comhas laid off 275 employees and closed two Los Angeles distribution centers as it strives to improve its financial bottom line.

Matthew Higgins, a spokesman for the New York-based personal delivery service, today said the layoffs were split between the company's New York and Los Angeles operations.

The cuts will leave Los Angeles with three Kozmo distribution centers and won't reduce the size of the company's delivery area, he said.

Higgins said the cuts were made "to achieve greater efficiency" at the company, which began online in 1997 as a site where consumers could place orders in select cities for personal delivery of snacks and video rentals within one hour.

The cuts were made possible through improvements in order-routing software and by cross-training workers to handle several different job functions, Higgins said.

The improved software, created by company engineers, allows computerized routing of deliveries, rather than requiring manual routing by workers, which took more time and was often less efficient, he said.

In June, Kozmo laid off 24 workers in its New York facilities and was faced with a management reorganization.

In April, the company was hit with a lawsuit that charged the company racially discriminated by making deliveries to white neighborhoods while staying out of black neighborhoods.

Kozmo.com combines online ordering with one-hour delivery for customers in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington and New York.

Customers can order a wide range of goods, including videos, DVDs, CDs, books, magazines, meals, snacks, drinks, electronics, home essentials and health and beauty aids.

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