Not even Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT), the world’s largest retailer, is immune to the “Amazon effect.” Wal-Mart home office layoffs are occurring in Bentonville, Arkansas, trimming jobs in its global business, finance, human resource, merchandise, real estate, and technology divisions. What’s more, Wal-Mart is cutting as many as 1,000 jobs in 2018 and 2019 in its latest effort to streamline under the ongoing threat from Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN). The first round of layoffs, which total around 500, took place this week.
Randy Hargrove, a spokesperson for Wal-Mart Stores Inc, said the company is restructuring and streamlining its teams before its fiscal year ends on Wednesday, January 31. Meanwhile, CEO Doug McMillon is hoping layoffs and reduced corporate expenses will better help it compete with Amazon.
“We’ve been looking at our structure for some time as we explore ways to operate more effectively,” he said.
More Wal-Mart Layoffs in 2019 in Second Phase of Cuts at HQ
In addition to the 500 layoffs announced at Wal-Mart’s corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas this week, a second round of layoffs will take place in 2019 when the company consolidates some properties to make way for its new corporate headquarters. According to Wal-Mart, less than 500 positions will be gutted during that wave of layoffs.
Back in September, Wal-Mart announced that it had outgrown its current headquarters in Bentonville (which is actually made up of more than 20 buildings) and is building a new campus about two miles away. The construction of the new corporate headquarters is expected to take five to seven years.
This caps off a busy month for Wal-Mart. Earlier in January, the company abruptly announced plans to shutter 63 Sam’s Club warehouses and reorganize the unit’s purchasing division. Twelve of the warehouses will be turned into e-commerce fulfillment centers.
Sam’s Club did not say how many employees would lose their jobs as a result of the closures, but a Wal-Mart spokesperson said that around 9,450 people are employed across the 63 stores.
The store closures and mass layoffs also goes to show how far Wal-Mart is willing to go to compete with Amazon.
“Wal-Mart Job Cuts Rise to 1,000 in Company’s Latest Shake-Up,” Bloomberg, January 25, 2018.
“Guiding Principles for a New Home Office,” Wal-Mart Stores Inc, last accessed January 26, 2018.
“63 facilities impacted, up to 12 to convert to eCommerce facilities,” Wal-Mart Stores Inc, January 11, 2018.
“Twitter post,” Sam’s Club Twitter account, January 11, 2018, 1:25 p.m.