Exterior view of a Walmart store on August 23, 2020 in North Bergen, New Jersey
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Walmart confirmed Wednesday that it began laying off corporate employees about a week after the company cut its earnings outlook and warned consumers it had cut discretionary spending because of inflation.
In a statement to CNBC, the retail giant described the layoffs as a way to “better position the company for a strong future.”
Anne Hatfield, a Walmart spokeswoman, declined to say how many workers will be affected and which divisions experienced cuts. She said Walmart is still hiring in parts of its business that are growing, including supply chain, e-commerce, health and wellness, and advertising sales.
“Buyers are changing. Customers are changing,” he said. “We’re doing a restructuring to make sure we’re aligned.”
The corporate layoffs were first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Walmart is the nation’s largest employer with nearly 1.6 million workers in the U.S. The company, seen as a proxy for the nation’s economy, spooked investors last week when it cut its quarterly earnings outlook. and annual. That warning had a chilling effect on the retail sector, dragging down shares of companies like Macy’s and Amazon and casting a flare on the health of the American consumer.
Walmart said at the time that as shoppers spent more on necessities like groceries and fuel, they were skipping high-margin items like clothing. He said he would have to cut prices to sell more of those items, especially as excess inventory has built up at his stores and those of competitors like Target and Bed Bath and Beyond.
Later that week, Best Buy cut its earnings and sales forecast, saying it was seeing declining demand for consumer electronics — high-value, discretionary purchases that some shoppers may put off.
This story is developing. Please check for updates.