Discover Financial Services plans to reduce its work force by about 500 people next month.

The layoffs are "in order to better align the company's cost structure with the current economic environment," a Discover spokeswoman wrote in an e-mail Thursday.

The cuts will primarily be made at Discover's Riverwoods, Ill., headquarters.

The card company last month reported a profit of $120 million in its first fiscal quarter, ended Feb. 28, but would have posted a loss without a payment of $297 million from an antitrust settlement with Visa and MasterCard.

David Nelms, Discover's chairman and chief executive officer, said in the e-mail that "rising chargeoffs, decreases in consumer spending and the instability of the credit card securitization markets are affecting the entire industry. Discover must take these additional, difficult steps to manage through this unprecedented environment and put our business in the strongest possible position going forward."

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