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Bedour Ibrahim

Walmart's job cuts underscore its efforts to cut costs

Walmart to lay off hundreds of corporate staff، relocate others، source says

Tuesday 14/May/2024 - 09:29 PM
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Walmart  is cutting hundreds of corporate jobs and asking most remote workers to relocate to three main tech offices or quit the company، a source familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Workers at the U.S. retail giant's smaller offices in Dallas، Atlanta and Toronto are being asked to move to other central hubs such as Walmart's corporate base in Bentonville، Arkansas، as well as Hoboken، New Jersey، or Sunnyvale، California، the source told Reuters. Walmart will close those smaller hubs later this year، the source added.

On a "business update" call with employees on Monday، remote workers were given until July 1 to make a decision about relocating or to quit with severance، according to the source، who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Those who choose to leave will receive two weeks pay for every year they worked at Walmart as severance، the source said.

Walmart's job cuts underscore its efforts to cut costs as discretionary spending in the United States remains strained. Spending among Americans has remained weak compared to 2021، at least for non-essential، discretionary merchandise like clothing، according to surveys by Deloitte.

The retailer is set to report first-quarter results on Thursday. Walmart employed about 2.1 million workers as of Jan. 31، most of them store and warehouse associates.

A broader push towards operation efficiency

Walmart shares were down 1.2% at $59.66 in midday trading on Tuesday.

Walmart is in the middle of building،  a new headquarters complex just a few miles from its old one in Arkansas. Built on a 350-acre (140 hectares) property، the campus will include 12 office buildings، a hotel، a childcare and fitness center and multiple outdoor spaces dotted with restaurants and stores، according to Walmart's website.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"This is likely just part of a broader push towards operational efficiency. The mandate that remote workers report into the office is a closet way to get people to quit instead of doing a layoff،" said Brian Jacobsen، chief economist at Annex Wealth Management، which holds Walmart in mutual funds and ETFs it manages.

"Giving people a choice to relocate to a hub isn't much of a choice. It's more of a choice of whether to quit or not،" Jacobsen added.

Walmart last month said it would close all 51 of its health clinics and shut its virtual healthcare operations، saying it could not see it as a sustainable business model. The company also said last year it expects about 65% of its stores to be serviced by automation by the end of its fiscal year 2026.