Walmart layoffs just the latest retail cuts

Walmart’s plan to lay off of hundreds of employees is the latest ripple in a wave of job cuts and store closures that are roiling the retail industry.

The world’s largest retailer is cutting roughly 1,000 jobs at its corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. later this month, according to a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak about it.

In a statement, Walmart spokesman Greg Hitt did not confirm the job cuts. “We are always looking for ways to operate more efficiently and effectively,'' he said. "While we continually look at our corporate structure, we have not made any announcements.  Like any organization, we make decisions based upon what’s best for our business and the customers we serve.”

Unlike some other chains, Walmart has been on mostly solid ground financially, with store sales rising and overall revenue inching up to $118.2 billion in the third quarter. But Walmart executives assured investors in October that it planned to better control expenses even as it boosted investments in both e-commerce and its in-store experience.

Many traditional retailers are shutting stores and shedding employees to bolster their bottom lines or simply to survive in an environment in which consumers are increasingly bypassing stores and shopping with Amazon and other online retailers instead.

The Limited has closed all of its stores in the U.S., though it maintains its online site.  Macy’s will shutter 68 locations, and Sears is closing 150 stores and selling its signature Craftsman tool brand in a bid to survive.

Amazon has been a particular thorn in the side of chains that make most of their revenue through in-store sales. But big box giants like Walmart and Home Depot have challenged more traditional  stores like Sears as well.

Walmart, the world's biggest retailer, has been taking  aggressive steps to hold onto and expand its vast market share, upgrading its grocery offerings, making its stores more efficient, and boosting its e-commerce presence. Last year, it purchased Jet.com for $3 billion, an acquisition that could help the chain draw more higher-income online customers.

USA TODAY


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