News Feature | April 12, 2017

Walmart Eliminating 300 Tech Division Jobs, Sam's Club Reduces Staff

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Walmart Omni Channel Holiday Strategy

Cuts are across the board and include officers.

Walmart remains committed to reorganizing its technology division and creating a better bottom line for the retailer. In its latest move in this direction, it has announced the elimination of some 300 tech division jobs, with cuts across the board and including officers.

These cuts come after two separate rounds of layoffs were announced by Wal-Mart in January, when 1,000 jobs were eliminated from the supply chain group at the retailer's Arkansas headquarters, and another 200 e-commerce positions were cut from the company's Silicon Valley office. It also comes barely a week after three technology executives were promoted and  charged with driving the integration of online and in-store shopping experiences.

Walmart corporate spokesman Randy Hargrove told Talk Business & Politics Northwest Arkansas Business Journal that the layoffs did not target older or longer-term employees, but that they were based on ongoing company initiatives to streamline its operations.

“As we said in January, to fuel our growth and our investments we have to manage our costs and our capital decisions with discipline. This means we will continue to find ways to operate more efficiently and effectively, true to our cost-conscious heritage. In order to achieve this, from time to time you’ll see the company eliminate positions in an effort to stay lean and fast. In some areas, we’ll invest in new positions but in other cases, we’ll operate more efficiently and work to change our processes and become more digital to change the work itself,” Hargrove explained.

While some insiders insinuated that the layoffs were the result of outsourcing and offshoring of many jobs, particularly in the project management team, Hargrove asserted, “Outsourced/offshored that you’ve been told is not correct…Also, if anything, our focus is on having a higher ratio of full-=time associates doing actual engineering and software development, which gets back to the point I mentioned about looking at the business and investing in areas as necessary.”

Marc Lore, Walmart US eCommerce CEO, announced the restructuring of the division on January 31, resulting in the loss of approximately 200 jobs. This latest round of cuts is in addition to those announced in January and those of 1,000 corporate jobs also eliminated prior to January 31.

Wal-Mart Stores CEO Doug McMillon explained the rationale behind the corporate cuts, saying: “To deliver the changes we ultimately want customers to see on the outside, we have to change on the inside. We need more speed and less bureaucracy. We need lower costs.”

In fact, even as the retailer implements its restructuring, it remains committed to retaining and training quality employees, as Innovative Retail Technologies reported.  Among the 2017 company goals are adding jobs, boosting training opportunities, and raising wages across the employee base.

Sam’s Club also eliminated all of its club auditors and is streamlining its home office personnel as well.