Walmart is on a consolidation spree as it is cutting corporate roles across the company merging its online and store businesses in the U.S. The retail giant confirmed on Thursday that it is eliminating some jobs in its back offices — refusing to comment on as to how many workers will lose their jobs.
Bloomberg was the first one to report the layoffs. Citing people familiar with the matter, the report said Walmart has laid off hundreds of corporate employees across store planning, logistics, and real estate units.
Spokeswoman Jami Lamontagne of Walmart told CNBC “We are continuing on our journey to create an omnichannel organization within our Walmart U.S. business and we’re making some additional changes this week”. She said the company will share more details after notifying employees.
The news comes during struggling COVID times when Walmart is attempting to turn its e-commerce business into a profitable one. It’s made a series of organizational changes and announcements in recent months.
In late February, the company merged its buyer teams on the store and online side to decrease conflicts over the pricing of products online and in-store. The company had previously struck deals with second-hand apparel and accessories site ThredUp in May and with Shopify in June to expand the assortment of goods and add new brands to its website. Furthermore, it announced in May that it would close its Jet.com brand.
The company further has expectations to launch a subscription-based service called Walmart+ to compete with Amazon Prime. Walmart’s e-commerce sales in the U.S. shot up by 74% in the first quarter, which ended April 30.
The ongoing COVID pandemic has redefined corporate strategies of a lot of retail sites as financial pressures have led to the leaning up of the staff and retailers have eliminated a lot of corporate positions. Macy’s , Nike, and L.Brands, which owns Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works, have all announced plans to reduce headcount.
However, Walmart’s case has been different as an essential retailer, it’s been able to keep stores open.
Sales have jumped as Americans buy more groceries and household essentials as they spend more time at home. Same-store sales grew by 10% and the company’s average ticket increased by 16% in the first quarter.
In recent months, the retail giant has hired more than 400,000 employees for stores and fulfillment centers to help stock shelves and keep up with demand. With this addition, labor costs have risen. To keep up the employee spirits, Walmart has announced three rounds of special bonuses that have totaled $1.1 billion.
The company’s stock was down about 1% on Thursday.