Walgreens and JP Morgan Chase Bail on Year-End Celebrations

The Chicago Tribune reports on the latest slew of corporations saying farewell to the holiday party in 2008 and offers up some sobering statistics of the common trend.

Among the latest companies bowing out is Walgreens. In more auspicious times, the drug store chain hosted a Christmas Eve lunch for employees and their families at its Deerfield, Illinois, headquarters, sometimes attracting more than 1,000 guests. Employees got a day off instead of the lunch in 2007, but this year, they'll get neither. “With budgets being tight, it made the decision more clear," Walgreen spokesman Michael Polzin told The Tribune about the cancelation. “I think it will be revisited next year.” Walgreens recently lost its C.E.O. and launched a campaign to cut $1 billion in spending.

JP Morgan Chase finds itself in a similar position. The company previously subsidized holiday parties for its business units, but it's revoked the offer this year. “There's no money,“ said Chase spokesman Tom Kelley. “Earnings are down 65 percent." 

According to The Tribune, local outplacement firm Challenger, Gray, and Christmas conducted a survey of 100 human resources executives from different industries across the country. Nearly 25 percent of the surveyed companies have canceled holiday office parties this year, while only 10 percent canceled in 2007.

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