Even the nation’s largest employer isn’t immune to the wave of job cuts sweeping retail.
Walmart is restructuring its U.S. operations in a move that’s expected to slash hundreds of jobs. Merging Jet.com into Walmart.com was expected to eliminate some positions. However, the cuts are likely to be much more severe than initially thought, impacting employees at some of its roughly 4,700 stores nationwide. The mass merchant is also planning to add an undisclosed number of new positions.
Sources said layoffs began earlier this week and have impacted staff across all divisions at corporate and possibly some in the field. While the e-commerce division has been heavily hit, as expected, sources said layoffs have occurred in divisions such as real estate and logistics, such as supply chain, as well as in merchandising. Also, some positions deemed customer-focused, such as store layout, have also seen cuts. At the store level, sources believe that management positions are being consolidated, eliminating many mid-level and some senior-tier positions.
Walmart did not respond to a request for comment by press time. Sources indicate that the retailer is eliminating redundancies at the store and online channels, instead creating a single team to oversee both operations,
On the other hand, the discounter is expected to create new jobs in the areas of supply chain, stores and facilities.
John Furner, who heads up Walmart’s U.S. operations, was reportedly set to addres the restructuring plan with employees Thursday afternoon. According to a Bloomberg report, those impacted will receive severance through the end of the fiscal 2020, or the last weekend in January 2021 on the retail calendar.
It wasn’t immediately clear how many of those impacted might be able to find jobs within Walmart. The mass discounter pruned its store fleet in recent year, focusing instead on last-mile delivery race against Amazon and omnichannel services including buy online and pickup in store. In the first quarter that ended May 1, the retailer launched its express delivery service, promising to get orders to customer doorsteps in under two hours. And last month, Walmart began a self-checkout pilot at a store in Arkansas, perhaps a hint of what’s to come at retail.
Walmart joins L Brands, J. C. Penney, Macy’s and Nordstrom in reducing its payroll. Across the pond, Marks & Spencer, Selfridges, John Lewis and Harrods are making tough decisions on store and employee count, too.