(Adds details on restructuring, industry background, Nordstrom)
TORONTO, June 8 (Reuters) - Saks Fifth Avenue owner Hudson's Bay Co said on Thursday it would cut about 2,000 jobs across North America in a major restructuring effort as it reported a wider-than-expected first-quarter loss.
The Canadian department store operator, which also posted a steeper-than-expected drop in quarterly retail sales, said the move would help the company save more than C$350 million ($259 million) annually.
"We know we can do better and we are taking bold decisive action," Chief Executive Jerry Storch said in a statement.
The company said the cuts were decided after a six-month review of ways to slash costs and streamline its operations.
Hudson's Bay and other large retailers are struggling to reinvent themselves amid an industrywide upheaval that has seen shoppers migrate online.
U.S. department store operator Nordstrom Inc said earlier on Thursday that members of the Nordstrom family were considering taking the company private and selling debt so they could reshape its operations.
Hudson's Bay's plan is expected to be fully implemented by the end of fiscal 2018, and includes C$75 million in savings announced earlier this year.
It said it expected to take about C$95 million in restructuring charges over the next year and that measures to achieve a total of C$125 million in annual savings had already been implemented.
The retailer established separate teams to focus on its Hudson's Bay and Lord & Taylor department-store chains. Alison Coville, a nearly two-decade veteran of the company, will run Hudson's Bay. Liz Rodbell, who previously headed both chains, will lead Lord & Taylor.
"As we have developed our plan, we have been determined to become not just a leaner Company but also a better one," Storch said in a statement.
The company reported a loss of C$221 million, or C$1.21 per share, in the quarter ended April 29. The loss was wider than the average analyst forecast of 76 cents.
Retail sales totaled C$3.2 billion, down 3 percent from a year ago, below the average analyst forecast of C$3.26 billion.
The company's difficulties during the quarter surfaced last month when it reported a 2.9 percent drop in comparable store sales across all retail outlets, marking the fifth consecutive quarter of declines. ($1 = 1.3501 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by Jim Finkle and Peter Cooney)