Ascena Retail Group told employees Thursday it was reducing its staff by 200 persons, including 10 at its Duluth-based Maurices headquarters.

The Duluth office houses both Maurices employees and Ascena Brand Services positions.

The cuts came as Ascena modified its Change for Growth program that was launched last October. It addresses the rapidly changing retail environment – particularly the shift to online shopping that has cut into the profits of traditional brick-and-mortar stores.

“The Change for Growth transformation is critical to our long-term success and, more importantly, to provide a strong future for our more than 17,000 associates across the Value Fashion segment," said  George Goldfarb, president and CEO of that division, which includes the Maurices and Dress Barn brands. "Maurices has been headquartered in Duluth for over 85 years, and we’ve grown to more than 1,000 stores across the country and $1 billion in sales, but the retail landscape is changing very quickly and we have to position ourselves to serve the new demands of our customers. It’s always hard to say goodbye to talented associates through transitions, but I’m very grateful to all of them for their contributions.”

In a news release, Ascena said it expects to cut expenses by $250 to $300 million by fiscal 2019. 

“We are committed to ensuring a healthy organization for the long-term benefit of our 66,000 associates, our customers and our shareholders and this requires bold transformation," said David Jaffe, president and CEO of Ascena. "We cannot operate today the way we did yesterday. It’s never easy to reduce our workforce; that’s always the toughest part and we are very appreciative of our associates who have been part of ascena and dedicated their talents.”