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Retail

Wal-Mart Said To Be Cutting Hundreds Of Workers This Month

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is making another round of job cuts as part of CEO Doug McMillon’s efforts to streamline operations, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The move will eliminate hundreds of positions this month, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the plan is not public. The Wall Street Journal previously reported on the layoffs, saying that they would fall particularly hard on the human-resources department, which some executives feel should be outsourced.

Wal-Mart has been looking for ways to slim down its operations at a time of increasing e-commerce spending and rising wages for employees. In late 2015, Wal-Mart eliminated hundreds of headquarter positions, followed by a relocation of 7,000 back-office accounting positions, announced in September. Wal-Mart employs about 2.3 million people worldwide.

"We need to manage expenses even better, which includes changing how we do work inside the company," McMillon told investors in October. "We have a lot of conversations these days about priorities."

Though Wal-Mart’s job cuts represent a tiny fraction of its workforce, retail layoffs have become a bigger concern following a mixed holiday season. Macy’s, Inc. recently announced plans to cut about 6,200 jobs and push ahead with a plan to shutter roughly 100 stores. Altogether, that effort will eliminate about 10,000 workers.

Sam’s Club

At Wal-Mart, management has also been shaking up the company’s Sam’s Club warehouse division. It elevated merchandising chief John Furner to CEO of the division as it struggles to keep pace with rival Costco Wholesale Corp.

In the e-commerce arena, Wal-Mart acquired Jet.com for about $3.3 billion last year, marking the retailer’s strongest bid yet to compete with market leader Amazon.com, Inc. Recently, Wal-Mart also announced the acquisition of ShoeBuy.com for $70 million. The deal will help Wal-Mart’s Jet challenge Zappos.com, Amazon’s footwear site.

The Bentonville, Arkansas-based company is coming off a third quarter marked by disappointing sales growth, though e-commerce orders did show signs of picking up. Wal-Mart reports its fiscal fourth-quarter results in February.

The stock was little changed in New York recently, closing at $68.23. It rose 13% last year.

News by Bloomberg, edited by ESM. To subscribe to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine, click here.

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