According to multiple media sources, retailing giant WalMart is looking to cinch its belt once again. The Bentonville, Arkansas-based firm is apparently in the process of laying off 450 employees at its headquarters this week. Knowledgeable sources say that the cuts come across all departments, and that the world’s largest retailer attempts is trying to trim down and remain flexible as it tries to compete with the likes of Amazon.com in a new era for retail.
More on Walmart layoffs and restructuring
The reduction in force at its headquarters comes as Walmart is investing billions into improving its e-commerce to compete with Amazon.com and Target, boosting the pay of hundreds of thousands of in-store workers to improve spotty customer service, evolving its smaller-store formats and launching new distribution centers to support e-commerce, and rolling out new initiatives such as free drive-in pick-up for online grocery orders (limited number of locations.
“Our customers are changing, retail is changing and we must change. We need to become a more agile company that can easily adapt to shifting customer demand,” McMillon said in a speech to 18,600 employees at the headquarters in Bentonville on Friday, according to a memo seen by Fortune.
The Wal-Mart CEO went on to say: “This is an important time in our history – requiring all of us to think critically about our business and not be afraid to challenge the status quo. For the company, this in part means pulling back in some areas and investing in others.”
McMillon’s comments were notably similar to earlier comments by Target CEO Brian Cornell, who said one of his goals was to trim the bureaucracy that had impeded innovation at the firm.
Of note, Target laid off 1,700 employees at its Minneapolis headquarters in early 2015, and closed another 1,400 open jobs without filling them. In related developments, both Whole Foods and Neiman Marcus also announced lay offs this week.
Walmart cut profit forecast
At its last earnings report in August, Wal-Mart slashed its profit forecast as it reported a 1.5% increase in U.S. comparable sales for the second fiscal quarter. The retailer noted that its U.S. business had ticked upwards on the back of a modest increase in shopper traffic.