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Walmart Shaking Up Tech Team

Walmart is closing three tech hubs and asking remaining tech workers to show up in the office more often.

The retailer will close hubs in Austin, Texas, Portland, Ore., and Carlsbad, Calif, leaving it with 14, including six outside the U.S. A new rule requiring tech employees to work at least two days in person could force some to move closer to a remaining office. Headquarters employees in the tech group might have to commute all five days of the work week.

The Wall Street Journal first reported on the developments, citing a memo that Suresh Kumar, Walmart’s global chief technology officer, sent to employees last week. The retailer reportedly will pay relocation costs for employees who transfer to other Walmart offices, with severance given to workers who resign.

In a statement, Walmart said it “made the decision to focus our tech team’s presence within select locations,” and hopes employees will move closer to remaining tech facilities.

“Our decision to be together more frequently anchors to Walmart’s fundamental belief that our people make the difference, our culture matters and we build stronger partnerships when we are physically together. With this in mind, we’ve asked the Global Tech team to plan regular in office days,” it said.

The Global Tech group was Walmart’s fastest-growing corporate team, with plans to add more than 5,000 workers globally, Kumar wrote in a Walmart blog post last March, noting the division’s 20,000-staff headcount.

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“Walmart’s early adoption of technology helped make it one of the world’s best success stories,” Kumar wrote in last year’s post.”Today, Walmart Global Tech develops and manages the foundational technologies on which customer experiences are built, including cloud, data, enterprise architecture, DevOps, infrastructure and security.”

Jobs in the sector have been under fire in recent months. cut 100 jobs while The Bay, the e-commerce operation of Canadian department store retailer Hudson’s Bay, is also planning corporate layoffs. And across the pond, Boohoo plc is planning to axe some staff. British fashion e-tailer Asos began pruning payroll last year.

The tech giants are also shedding jobs by the tens of thousands. Amazon’s 18,000 job cuts, Microsoft’s 10,000 and Google 12,000 were just the start. According to Crunchbase, more than 77,000 employees at U.S. tech companies have gotten the proverbial pink slip. Other cuts include 7,000 at Salesforce 6,650 at Dell, 2,000 at PayPal, 1,600 at Yahoo, 1,300 at Zoom, over 500 at Intel and 500 at eBay.