QUOTE OF THE DAY
“As we said in January, we’re continuing to look at how the company is structured, which includes investing in and adding jobs in some areas and eliminating some in a few others.” Randy Hargrove, Wal-Mart spokesman
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. completed another round of home office layoffs in Bentonville on Thursday, continuing its restructuring efforts under Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon.
The retailer declined to reveal the number of employees who were let go during the latest round or to specify the affected departments. But multiple sources inside the company said workers in the merchandising and replenishment divisions were among those hit Thursday. A source said a “few dozen workers” were affected.
Another source said merchandising positions eliminated were at the senior director and director levels.
“As we said in January, we’re continuing to look at how the company is structured, which includes investing in and adding jobs in some areas and eliminating some in a few others,” WalMart spokesman Randy Hargrove said Thursday. “This is all about aligning and creating efficiencies as we change how we work to seamlessly serve our customer through our stores and e-commerce.”
Hargrove also said there were “several dozen promotions” in the company Thursday, including category team assistants being elevated to merchandise specialists. Those employees work with buying teams in merchandising, according to Hargrove. The latest moves continue what has been months of restructuring for the company, which is making efforts to manage costs and improve efficiency as it competes with other retailers like Amazon. com.
The efforts included about 1,000 workers being laid off
across multiple divisions during a round of job cuts before the end of the fiscal year on Jan. 31. The cuts included 511 workers at the company’s home office in Bentonville, according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act filing.
In addition, about 300 jobs in the company’s internal systems division in Bentonville were among those affected by cuts in early April.
“This is multiple rounds and multiple rounds,” said Brian Yarbrough, a retail analyst with Edward Jones. “Either these guys were way, way too fat, or they’re getting awfully thin.”
Any displaced employees are to get up to 60 days of pay as they look for new
jobs. There will be outplacement services, resume and skill training, and counseling through an employee-assisted program. If affected employees haven’t found work after that 60- day period, they’ll reportedly be offered severance packages based on length of service with the company.
Bentonville Mayor Bob McCaslin said he had not been notified by Wal-Mart about an additional round of home office layoffs as of Thursday morning. McCaslin said his first concerns were with any individuals and families affected by the latest round of job cuts.
But McCaslin said he hasn’t noticed anything “catastrophic” and still believes Bentonville remains healthy despite the layoffs that have occurred at the company’s home office this year.
“This employer is a giant
influence on Bentonville, Benton County and Washington County, Northwest Arkansas,” McCaslin said. “But when they do these corrections or modifications that we’ve seen in the past, those people typically are working somewhere else sometimes even within the company within the next six months.”
“Give [Wal-Mart] credit. They know how to change course and keep going.”
Some concern about WalMart’s restructuring has been voiced publicly.
Bentonville School Board member and Wal- Mart attorney Matthew Burgess referred to this year’s layoffs during a July 17 School Board meeting when discussing whether to earmark funds toward the completion of a stadium at Bentonville West High School.
Burgess said during the
public meeting that he’d like to wait and see how the district’s growth projections play out over the next year or two before making a financial commitment to the stadium. He mentioned layoffs this year at Wal-Mart as a sign of potential trouble in the local economy.
“There is some instability,” Burgess said.