Strategy

Wal-Mart Lays Off 450 Workers at Arkansas HQ

The retailer says it is aligning home office staff with its priorities of growing e-commerce sales and improving the shopping experience at its sto...
Katie Kuehner-HebertOctober 2, 2015

Wal-Mart is laying off 450 workers including some managers and vice presidents at its Bentonville, Ark. headquarters amid slow sales and shifts in the retail business.

“After months of evaluation, we’ve concluded there is an opportunity to better position our Home Office teams to move with speed and purpose,” CEO Doug McMillon wrote in a staff memo obtained by the The Wall Street Journal.

The company is at “an important time in our history,” he added. “This in part means pulling back in some areas and investing in others.”

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In a later interview with the WSJ, a Wal-Mart spokesman declined to detail what departments or types of employees are being eliminated. But the spokesman said the goal of the layoffs is to align “the staff in the home office with the corporate priorities” of growing e-commerce sales and improving the overall experience of shopping in U.S. stores.

Laid off employees would receive 60 days of pay, plus two weeks of pay for every year of employment with the company, the spokesman told the WSJ.

In August, the retail giant reported a 15% drop in quarterly net profit from the previous year and cut its earnings outlook for the full year. Other U.S. retailers such as Target have also announced job cuts and store closures as they confront slow sales growth and a shift to online shopping.

“Wal-Mart is investing heavily in making stores clean, fast, friendly and well-stocked,” the WSJ noted. “At the same time, the retailer is investing in boosting its e-commerce infrastructure and raising wages for store employees.”

In April, the company raised the minimum wage it pays store employees to $9 and will increase that to $10 for most in February.

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