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U.S. employers planned to cut payrolls by 45,107 in January, up 47 percent from December's 30,683 planned layoffs, according to a report by Challenger, Gray & Christmas. The January cuts compared with 40,430 planned cuts in the year-earlier period, up 12 percent.
January's numbers followed a 13-year low in planned cuts that were reported in December, the outplacement firm said.
"I think these are happening as retail industry reacts to the ongoing onslaught from e-retail and to more and more consumers using their smartphones or tablets to purchase their holiday goods," John Challenger, CEO of the firm, told CNBC on Thursday.
(Read more: US jobless claims, productivity help lift gloom)
Challenger said companies are making announcements to change their operations as they rethink the ways they approach retail in the future, adding that the cuts are becoming more structural. They now consist of store closings and not just the seasonal cuts.
He expects more cuts to come in the next few years as big retailers with real estate close down unprofitable stores and the industry changes more to "clicks and bricks-and-clicks type strategies."
—By CNBC.com with Reuters.