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Cisco to close shop for 4 days to save money

Networking giant plans to close offices in the United States and Canada between December 29 and January 2 to help reach its goal of slashing $1 billion in operating expenses.

Networking giant Cisco Systems plans to shut down its offices for four days at the end of the year to help save money, according to a research note by UBS analyst Nikos Theodosopoulos.

The company plans to close its offices in the United States and Canada from December 29, 2008, until January 2, 2009. Cisco hopes the shutdown will help save $1 billion in operating expenses.

CEO John Chambers indicated during the company's quarterly conference call earlier this month that Cisco will need to reduce its operating expenses, as it faces a challenging economic environment. Cisco, which sells Internet gear to large corporate customers like banks, has been especially hit during the downturn, as many of its Wall Street customers drastically reduce spending.

During the last economic downturn, many technology companies shut down operations during the week between Christmas and New Year's Day as a way to save operating costs. But this is the first time that Cisco has taken such a step in more than a decade.

"Given the difficult macroeconomic conditions, we believe our cost control focus at this time is appropriate, while still providing our partners and customers with critical services over the holiday period," the company said on its blog explaining the shutdown.