Confirming long-held speculation, Wal-Mart Stores on Friday announced that it was laying off 450 associates at its home office in Bentonville, Ark. — changes CEO Doug McMillon said would help the retailer become “a more nimble organization that serves customer better.”
The workforce reduction — amounting to a 2.5% downsizing of Walmart’s 18,000 headquarter employees — had been anticipated since the company announced heavy investments in salaries and staffing for store-level employees earlier this year. Walmart is also spending heavily behind its e-commerce operations, with those expenses pressuring earnings in recent quarters.
In a memo obtained by SN that announces the changes, McMillon said “Our customers are changing, retail is changing and we must change. We need to become a more agile company that can easily adapt to shifting customer demand. After months of evaluation, we’ve concluded there is an opportunity to better position our Home Office teams to move with speed and purpose.”
He added: “This is an important time in our history — requiring all of us to think critically about our business and not be afraid to challenge the status quo. For the company, this in part means pulling back in some areas and investing in others.”
Impacted associates are being paid for 60 days with benefits and can apply for open positions, the company noted. Departing workers are receiving severance pay and have access to job placement services, Deisha Barnett, a Walmart spokeswoman, told SN.
Walmart last laid off headquarters workers in 2009 (800 workers) and 2010 (300), Barnett added.
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